The U.S. Space Force announced a partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing this morning on FOX & Friends. Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, Chief of Space Operations unveiled the No. 20 U.S. Space Force Chevrolet with driver and team owner Ed Carpenter. The three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner will carry the colors of the U.S.’s new military branch in this year's 500-mile race, scheduled for August 23, 2020. Through ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ Carpenter and ECR will build awareness of the U.S. Space Force in race fans and Americans all over the country.
The U.S. Space Force became the sixth branch of the Department of Defense when it was signed into law on December 20, 2019. The mission of the U.S. Space Force is to protect the interests of the United States in space; deter aggression in, from and to space; and conduct space operations. Similar to the branches of the military which are dedicated to protecting and securing the air, land, and sea, the U.S. Space Force focuses singularly on space.
“The U.S. Space Force’s involvement with the Indy 500 is centered around our organizations’ shared principles of STEM, teamwork, speed and competition,” said Maj. Jason Wyche, Chief of Air Force and Space Force Recruiting National Events Marketing Branch. “Additionally, the partnership gives the U.S. Space Force the ability to reach a large number of prospects and influencers through the far-reaching broadcast viewership and media coverage both for and leading up to the race.”
While Carpenter now races exclusively in the oval events, he is one of the most experienced drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with 184 career starts to date. He began his 18th season of Indy car competition with a Top 5 finish at Texas Motor Speedway in June. Carpenter, an Indianapolis native, has started on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 five of the past seven years. He solidified his status as a hometown favorite by winning the pole position in 2013 and 2014; in 2018, he became just the 10th driver to collect three or more Indy 500 poles in the century-plus history of the race. Of Carpenter's 16 Indianapolis 500 starts, two of his strongest results have come the past two years, including a runner-up after leading the most laps in 2018.
Carpenter is thrilled to have the opportunity race on behalf of the U.S. Space Force. "This is such an exciting day, unveiling this beautiful U.S. Space Force Chevrolet that I will drive in the Indianapolis 500 on August 23! To be able to represent the men and women of the U.S.'s newest military branch is truly an honor," proclaimed Carpenter. He continued, "Even though we are not running the '500' on Memorial Day weekend this year, the event has such a strong connection to our Armed Forces and there's no better way to showcase the brand new U.S. Space Force!"
The U.S. Space Force will organize, train, and equip agile, lean and forward-looking space professionals to defend our nation, allies, and American interests in space. By creating separate service with a dedicated purpose, the United States will maintain an advantage as space becomes more crowded and contested. Approximately 16,000 military and civilians from the former U.S. Air Force Space Command are now assigned to the U.S. Space Force and 6,000 active-duty Airmen will be transferring to the branch.
Just two weeks ago, the U.S. Space Force released its logo and motto, both of which are featured prominently on Carpenter’s No. 20. First used in 1961, the Delta symbol honors the heritage of the U.S. Air Force and Space Command. The silver outer border of the Delta signifies defense and protection from all adversaries and threats from the space domain. In the center of the Delta is the star Polaris, which symbolizes how the core values guide the mission. The U.S. Space Force motto, ‘Semper Supra’ (Always Above), represents the service’s role in establishing, maintaining and preserving U.S. freedom of operations in the space domain.
Carpenter is the only individual in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES who handles both the responsibility of driving and owning his own team. Founded in 2012, Carpenter's eponymous team has two full-time entries and expands to three cars for the Indianapolis 500. The 39-year-old will compete alongside fellow Hoosier Conor Daly and Dutch rookie Rinus VeeKay. ECR will be representing two branches of the United States military as Daly races for the U.S. Air Force. The 28-year-old's special edition No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet pays homage to the founding year of the U.S. Air Force and one of its most iconic aircraft, the Bell X-1. VeeKay, 19, will be competing in his first Indianapolis 500 in the team's No. 21 entry.
The 2020 Indianapolis 500 was originally slated for May 24 but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership, the decision has been made to hold the race on August 23 without spectators. All on-track action from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be viewed via NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN or NBC. The 2.5-mile oval will open for practice on Wednesday, August 12 and continue throughout the week. Qualifications will be held on Saturday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16. The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 23 with a live broadcast on NBC.