ED CARPENTER RACING READY FOR THE CHALLENGE OF 500 MILES AT POCONO RACEWAY
After a Strong Indianapolis 500, Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot Hopeful to Continue 500 Mile Race Fortunes at “The Tricky Triangle”
INDIANAPOLIS (August 14, 2018) – Race Preview Notes
– A pair of Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolets are ready to return to action this weekend at Pocono Raceway following two weeks of preparation. Coming off one of the longest stretches without on-track activity since the pre-season, Ed Carpenter Racing is up for the challenge of this weekend’s 500-mile race. Drivers Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot are now focused on Sunday’s 200 laps at the three-turn triangular oval nestled in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.
– The Verizon IndyCar Series calendar features two 500-mile races per year, this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway and the Indianapolis 500. Ed Carpenter Racing proved a contender in the latter, having the best showing in team history this year. Pigot earned the highest qualifying position of his career to date and started sixth, while Carpenter became one of only 10 drivers in the 102-year history of the race to win the coveted pole position for the third time. On race day, Pigot led the Indianapolis 500 for the first time before a drive-through penalty dropped him one lap behind the field. Carpenter stayed at the front all day, leading the most laps of all drivers (65) on his way a runner-up finish. Of Carpenter’s 15 Indianapolis 500 starts, this year’s second place was the highest of his career.
– As Carpenter drives exclusively at the oval events, Pocono will be his fifth of six races in 2018. He has been running at the checkered flag in three of the four oval races so far this year with a Top 10 finish in each. In addition to his second place at Indianapolis, Carpenter also finished 7th at Phoenix Raceway and 10th at Iowa Speedway. The 37-year-old is the only individual in the Verizon IndyCar Series who is both a team owner and a driver. He is also one of the most experienced drivers in the field, now in his 16th year of Indy car competition. Carpenter has led at least one race in each of the last 11 seasons.
– 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. In his first full-time season, Pigot would compete in a Verizon IndyCar Series race for the first time at five of the six oval tracks on the 2018 schedule, including this weekend’s venue of Pocono Raceway. Pigot had also not yet driven an Indy car at Iowa Speedway, the site of the most recent 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 way 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.
– While Sunday’s race will be Pigot’s first at Pocono Raceway, Carpenter has competed in each race since the Verizon IndyCar Series returned to the track in 2013. Carpenter managed a solid result in last year’s ABC Supply 500, but he had his work cut out for him. Following an incident in the opening practice session, the No. 20 was six minutes late to the tech inspection line following repairs and was excluded from qualifying. Starting last and battling grip issues, Carpenter found himself running alone on the 2.5-mile triangular oval without opportunities to move forward. A timely caution just prior the final quarter of the race reunited him with the lead pack, helping him rally to a 12th-place finish – his fifth Top 12 of 2017.
– Pocono will be the first in a string of three back-to-back race weekends as the Verizon IndyCar Series embarks on a cross-country stretch to wind down the 2018 season. The ABC Supply 500 will be followed next weekend by the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park, an event that returned to the schedule in 2017 with great popularity. Labor Day weekend will see Indy car racing return to the Pacific Northwest with the Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway. Pigot will race the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet in all events, while Carpenter will compete in the two oval races before rookie Jordan King steps back into the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Portland. The season will conclude in just over a month from now at Sonoma Raceway.
– The design of each of Pocono’s three turns draws inspiration from different race tracks. Turn 1 is modeled after New Jersey’s Trenton Speedway (closed in 1980), Turn 2 mimics the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Turn 3 is comparable to the Milwaukee Mile. The 2018 ABC Supply 500 at “The Tricky Triangle” will air live on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 19.
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I am always excited to get back to Pocono. It is such a unique track which makes for a fun challenge. The fact that it is a 500-mile race is something that I look forward to as well!”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I’ve never driven at Pocono before so it’ll be important to hit the ground running and have a good first practice session. Luckily, I have a very experienced team and teammate to help me prepare for the weekend. The ECR cars were really fast at Indy so hopefully some of what we learned there can carry over to this 2.5-mile oval as well!”
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