Vision Racing and Panther Racing will collaborate on Panther entries for drivers Dan Wheldon and Ed Carpenter for the 2010 Indianapolis 500, team officials announced yesterday.
Wheldon, 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner, will drive the No. 4 National Guard Honda that he races full time in the IZOD IndyCar Series for Panther. Carpenter will drive the No. 20 Honda.
"I am very pleased that we have this opportunity to partner with an excellent organization," Vision Racing Owner Tony George said. "This collaboration with Panther Racing will allow two teams that want nothing else but to compete and strive for success in the upcoming Indianapolis 500, the opportunity to do so to the best of their abilities.
"With this partnership between teams and drivers, we will also be able to maximize the potential of both parties, and field what I am sure will be a very formidable two-car effort.
"There are close personal and professional relationships within our two organizations that should allow us to put forth a cohesive effort we will all be proud of and have high expectations for achieving results."
Six-year IZOD IndyCar Series veteran Carpenter will make a return behind the wheel of the No. 20 that he has driven since Vision Racing's inception in 2005.
Carpenter, 29, from Indianapolis, finished the 2009 season by earning his career-best finish of second, matched his career-best start of fourth, led 35 laps, and drove to six top-10 finishes. He has made six Indianapolis 500 starts, with four top-11 finishes. He finished fifth and eighth in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
"I am very excited not only to be returning to the Indianapolis 500, but also working with Panther Racing," Carpenter said. "John Barnes has been a family friend for a long time, and I very grateful for this opportunity.
"I feel that with my experience, Vision Racing's experience, and Panther Racing's experience and success at Indianapolis that we will be a very competitive duo.
"It has been very hard watching from the sidelines so far this season, and I am very motivated to compete for my first win."
Panther Racing, which has claimed 15 IZOD IndyCar Series victories and two series championships, has finished second in the last two Indianapolis 500's, in 2008 with Vitor Meira and in 2009 with Wheldon.
"I believe the addition of Ed Carpenter and Vision Racing to the National Guard Panther Racing group is phenomenal," Wheldon said. "Ed's always been very quick, especially around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I'm very much looking forward to being able to have a teammate of his caliber.
"I know we'll work together well, and be able to move the team forward, which will give us both a chance to win the Indianapolis 500.”
Vision Racing suspended racing operations in January 2010. The partnership with Panther Racing opens the door for its return to IZOD IndyCar Series competition for the Indianapolis 500.