With Qualifications Cancelled, Ed Carpenter Will Start 11th and Spencer Pigot Will Start 14th Tomorrow Night

MADISON, Ill. (August 24, 2018) – Race Notes

– Qualifications for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 were cancelled to this afternoon due to weather, but Verizon IndyCar Series drivers were still given two-and-a-half hours of practice in advance of tomorrow night’s race. With the field for the final oval race of the year set by entrant points, Ed Carpenter will start 11th and Spencer Pigot will roll off 14th.

– Beginning early this morning, heavy rains arrived in the St. Louis area and the precipitation did not stop until midday. Practice was originally scheduled for 12:15-1:15 p.m. CT but did not get underway until 3:30 p.m. CT. Though the one-hour session was abbreviated by more moisture, Carpenter was able to turn 26 laps while Pigot got in 33. Pigot’s last lap was his fastest at 181.501 miles per hour (mph), which was 7th quick during the session. Carpenter’s quick time gave him a lap of 179.881 mph, 13th on the charts.

– With rain coming back to the area, Verizon IndyCar Series officials decided to scrap qualifying in favor of an extended practice session this evening. With qualifications cancelled, the starting grid would be set by entrant points. Therefore, Carpenter will start tomorrow night’s 248-lap race from the 11th position while Pigot will start 14th.

– The evening’s final practice session was extended an additional half an hour to allow the field additional time familiarize themselves with 2018’s universal aero kit around the 1.25-mile oval. Carpenter and Pigot used each minute of the session to dial in their set ups for tomorrow night’s race. Pigot turned 88 laps while Carpenter was just behind with 81 circuits around the track.

– Before earning ECR’s full-time No. 21 entry, Pigot spent two years as the road and street course driver of the team’s No. 20. As such, he would compete in an Indy car race for the first time at five of the six ovals on this year’s schedule, concluding with this weekend’s venue of Gateway Motorsports Park. Pigot had also not yet driven an Indy car at Iowa Speedway, the location of the most recent short oval race. He started in 18th, even falling one lap down to the leader in the early stages of the 300-lap event. However, he would flip the script and race his No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet through the entire field, climbing up to a second-place finish. It was the 24-year-old’s first podium finish in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

– As Carpenter drives exclusively at the oval events, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will the finale of his 16th season of Verizon IndyCar Series competition. He has been running at the checkered flag in four of the five oval races so far this year with a Top 10 finish in each. Carpenter raced his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet to a 7th place finish at Phoenix Raceway, 10th at Iowa Speedway and 10th last Sunday at Pocono. The 37-year-old’s highest finish of the year came at the prestigious 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. After winning the pole position for the third time in his career, Carpenter followed that up by leading the most laps of all drivers (65) on his way to a second-place finish – the best of his 15 Indy 500 starts. 

– The Verizon IndyCar Series is currently in a string of three back-to-back races, the second of which is this weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park. NBC Sports Network will broadcast the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 live on Saturday, August 25 at 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET).

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “We just haven’t quite got it figured out here, to be honest. I’m disappointed that we didn’t make more progress in the second session. We had an okay car during first practice and it felt like we were gaining on it midway through that last session, but we just can’t seem to get the right balance. We’re kind of chasing our tail back and forth; hopefully, we can put it together for tomorrow.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “The two sessions were pretty different for us. We seemed to be a bit more competitive early in the day. We have a few things to work on after tonight’s session going into the race. I feel comfortable with the car in traffic, we just seem to struggle to get the pace out of it. We’ll look it over, make a few good changes and et the Fuzzy’s Vodka car a bit stronger for tomorrow.”