By Michael Eubanks
After seven seasons and five IndyCar Series victories, Fuzzy’s Vodka will not return as a primary sponsor of Ed Carpenter Racing in 2019, the team announced in a press release Monday.
The vodka brand, which was created in 2009 by former PGA Tour golfer and Indiana native Fuzzy Zoeller, is shifting its marketing focus away from motorsports. The brand also was an official partner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I am very appreciative and proud of the relationship between ECR and Fuzzy’s, really going back to before the team began. It has been a good run and I wish them nothing but the best with their future endeavors. Tony George, Stuart Reed and I started ECR together back in 2012 and we are still as committed now as we were then to winning Indy 500s and competing for IndyCar Series championships. Our plans for 2019 and beyond remain unchanged and I cannot wait to see what we accomplish together moving forward” Carpenter said in the press release.
Fuzzy’s first entered the sport in 2010, sponsoring Carpenter for select races with Panther Racing. The part-time partnership with Panther continued in 2011 with Buddy Rice behind the wheel before moving to ECR full-time in 2012. Carpenter, as well as Mike Conway and Josef Newgarden all won races for ECR with Fuzzy’s sponsorship. Carpenter also won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 driving the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Chevrolet in 2013, 2014 and 2018.
Despite the loss of their primary sponsor, both the No. 20 car, which will shared by Carpenter and Ed Jones next year and the No. 21 car driven by Spencer Pigot will continue to compete full-time in 2019. Jones will join Carpenter and Pigot in a third car, the No. 64, at the 103rd Indianapolis 500 next May.