On Wednesday Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) and driver Conor Daly announced they they had mutually parted ways. A day later ECR has announced Daly’s replacement in the No. 20 Chevrolet, Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Hunter-Reay will begin driving the No. 20 car next weekend at Road America.
“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed. He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help,” Hunter-Reay said. “Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in Bitnile.com.”
Hunter-Reay did not compete in IndyCar last season but returned this year to finish 11th in the Indianapolis 500.
Ironically Bitnile is a sponsor which was brought to the team by Daly after the 2021 season. Hunter-Reay tested for ECR around that time after losing his ride at Andretti Autosport.
“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world,” Hunter-Reay said. “Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber.
“However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”
Hunter-Reay was the IndyCar Series champion in 2012, won the Indianapolis 500 in 2014 and had 18 career wins. He will now be teamed with Rinus VeeKay and Carpenter, who runs oval races in a third car for the team.
“We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader,” Carpenter said. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test.
“I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”
Todd Ault, executive chairman of Bitnile.com, expressed his support for the chance, even as he had reached the sponsorship agreement with Daly and not ECR.
“It is great for Bitnile.com to be aligned with an Indy 500 Winner and an IndyCar Series champion,” Ault said. “I have followed Ryan’s career for years and I am confident he will challenge the entire ECR team to perform at higher levels. I wish everyone luck at Road America.”