MILWAUKEE -- The IndyCar gang has packed up and left town after this weekend's IndyFest at the Milwaukee Mile, and one driver in particular is taking a lot of responsibility with him to the next stop on the circuit.
Unless you are a huge car nut, the drivers are the stars of open wheel racing. When the IZOD IndyCar circuit rolls into town, the drivers are the ones in front of the cameras and mixing with the fans, as well as pushing to be faster than everyone else.
Usually, the drivers can leave the details of the sport to other folks, such as the crews that prepare the cars and their owners, who pay the bills. However, Ed Carpenter is different.
31-year-old Ed Carpenter of Ed Carpenter Racing is the only driver/owner in the series.
"I'm more driver than anything. I am really lucky to have a lot of great people on the team. Our general manager Derek Walker has a ton of experience and our team, they do a great job, so I just let them do their thing and open my mouth if I need to every now and then," Carpenter said.
Big time racing is not just what happens between the green flag and the checkered flag -- a great deal of time and energy goes into the preparation process.
Carpenter has a wife and kids at home, and he knows that his employees have lives away from the track, too. Right now, all involved are in the midst of a five-races-in-a-month span, going from Indy to Detroit to Texas to Milwaukee to Iowa.
"The last thing you want to do is just drive your guys into the ground and burn them out. That's what's hard in these stretches that we are in, is getting the work in, but trying to find time in there to let them get a night off, so that you are not just grinding them down to a nub," Carpenter said.
Carpenter has been on the circuit since 2003, and has one career win on his resume.