DEFENDING WINNER JOSEF NEWGARDEN QUALIFIES 8TH FOR HONDA INDY TORONTO
Ed Carpenter Racing Looks To Make It Three-In-A-Row at Honda Indy Toronto
TORONTO (July 16, 2016) – Qualifying Notes
– Josef Newgarden will begin his defense of his 2015 Honda Indy Toronto victory from the 8th starting position in tomorrow’s race. Spencer Pigot will start from 21st as Ed Carpenter Racing works to make it three-in-a-row in the streets of the Canadian city.
– Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Pigot was assigned to Group 1 of the first round of qualifications. The No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet began the session on a new set of the softer but quicker ‘red’ Firestone Firehawk tires. After three laps at speed, Pigot made a pit stop for another set of sticker reds. His lap of 1:01:33 put him 11th in his group, giving him the 21st starting position for tomorrow’s 85-lap race.
– Newgarden, the defending Honda Indy Toronto winner who is fresh off his victory one week ago at Iowa Speedway, was in Group 2. He began the 10 minute session on a set of the harder ‘black’ Firestone Firehawks. After running three laps, he brought the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet in for a front wing adjustment and a set of sticker red tires. He vaulted to second on his first flying lap and was fifth by the end of the session. As the top six advance to Round 2, Newgarden moved on to the next 10-minute session.
– Following the same strategy as Round 1, Newgarden started Round 2 on black tires. While the fastest 12 cars streamed around the 1.786-mile street circuit, Newgarden made a stop for another set of sticker red Firehawks. Though he was 4th on his first flying lap on the new tires, he fell to 8th by the end of the session, giving him his starting spot for tomorrow’s race.
– Newgarden led ECR to the team’s first ever one-two finish last year when he took the victory 1.4 seconds ahead of then teammate Luca Filippi. A strategy call to pit early to switch from rain tires to slicks vaulted Newgarden to the front of the field, where he battled for the remainer of the race. Meanwhile, Filippi raced forward from a career-best starting position of 6th and was Newgarden’s biggest challenger at the end of the event.
– In 2014, it was Mike Conway who stood on the top step of the podium for ECR. During a wet Race 2 of the then-doubleheader event, Conway was the first competitor to drive into the pit lane for slick tires. It was a call that allowed him to stay out when a majority of the field came in under a yellow flag the following lap, vaulting him to the 5th position. He then made quick work of the four cars ahead of him still running on wet tires and moved into the lead. Even with a late-race red flag, Conway would stay out in front on the restart and take the victory.
– Pigot is also no stranger to success at Toronto. He won both races of the 2015 Indy Lights doubleheader, leading flag-to-flag in the second event. The victories were two of the six he collected on his march towards capturing the 2015 Indy Lights championship. Pigot, road and street course driver for the No. 20, most recently raced at Road America and earned a career-best 9th place finish.
– Not only is Newgarden the defending race winner at Toronto, he’s also the most recent winner in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He made it look easy last weekend at Iowa Speedway, dominating the Iowa Corn Indy 300 on his way to his first victory of 2016. He set a Verizon IndyCar Series record, leading the most laps ever during an Indy car race. Newgarden was at the front of the field for 282 of 300 laps, taking the lead on Lap 1 and only relinquishing it during green flag pit stops. The victory was Newgarden’s first on an oval track, third of his career and seventh for Ed Carpenter Racing.
– With his win at Iowa, Newgarden moved up to second in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings, the highest he has ever ranked. He drove the race with a surgically repaired clavicle and broken bone in his right hand, sustained one month in an accident at the suspended Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
– The Honda Indy Toronto will consist of 85 laps around the 11-turn street circuit on Sunday, July 17. A live broadcast will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on CNBC in the United States and Sportsnet 360 in Canada.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 21 PREFERRED FREEZER SERVICES CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 8TH: “It’s always great being here, so many fans come out and see us. Thanks everyone in Toronto for supporting IndyCar, I love running here! As far as qualifying, we’re battling the speed aspect of it. I think we have a great car, we were just missing some grip there with that last set of tires. We were a bit stronger on our first qualifying run. I’m not sure quite what we need at the moment, we’re good in some sections but weak in others. We need to try and solve that problem. I have a lot of faith with ECR and the Preferred Freezer crew, we should be able to get on it tomorrow!”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 21ST: “I’m disappointed to qualify where we did, we were obviously hoping to be a little bit higher up the grid but it didn’t happen that way. We’ll try and make the best of it tomorrow and see what we can do differently. It’s a long race and it’s usually pretty crazy with some big passing zones, so hopefully we can make up a few spots and have a clean race. Big thanks to all the guys at Ed Carpenter Racing, Fuzzy’s Vodka and Rising Star Racing for all their hard work.”
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