ED CARPENTER RACING EAGER TO BEGIN 2017 VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES SEASON
JR Hildebrand and Spencer Pigot To Drive Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolets in Season-Opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (March 7, 2017) – Preview Notes
– Verizon IndyCar Series team Ed Carpenter Racing will head south to the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. for the opening round of the 2017 season this weekend. ECR will run twin Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolets in Sunday’s 110-lap race, the No. 20 of Spencer Pigot and the No. 21 of JR Hildebrand.
– Both Hildebrand and Pigot have previously competed in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Hildebrand has raced on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit three times (2011, 2012, and 2013), with a best finish of 11th in 2011. Pigot, from nearby Orlando, Fla., made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut on the Streets of St. Petersburg last year. He climbed seven spots from his qualifying position to finish 14th.
– Though Hildebrand was named as the new driver of the No. 21 car for the 2017 season, he is not new to ECR. Hildebrand has been a fixture with the Speedway, Ind.-based team since 2014, earning a Top 10 for ECR in the Indianapolis 500 each year. The 29-year-old also competed in the 2015 and 2016 Grand Prix of Indianapolis and completed extensive testing in the No. 21 during the summer of 2016. He has 46 career Indy car starts to his name, including full-time seasons in 2011 and 2012.
– Pigot, 23, is the first driver to be named to the No. 20’s road and street course seat for a second year. Since 2014, the No. 20 has been split between team owner Ed Carpenter on the ovals and a second driver for the road and street races. The 2015 Indy Lights champion joined ECR prior to the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix last season, earning two Top 10 finishes in his first five races with the team.
– In the month leading up to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, ECR completed three separate tests. Carpenter set the second fastest lap of the Phoenix International Raceway open test in the No. 20, bested only by Hildebrand with the fastest lap of the weekend. Hildebrand, from Sausalito, Calif., also tested at his home track of Sonoma Raceway and Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Pigot stepped back into the No. 20 and tested alongside Hildebrand at both venues.
– The 2017 season will kick off with two practice sessions on Friday, March 11. Live coverage of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will begin at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 13 on ABC.
Spencer Pigot’s sophomore Verizon IndyCar Series season will be in the same car as he spent the latter half of his rookie year. He is the first driver to have the road and street course seat Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 for a second year.
For the first time since 2012, JR Hildebrand will contest the entire Verizon IndyCar Series season. Hildebrand was named as the driver for the No. 21 for 2017, but has been for Ed Carpenter Racing during the Month of May since 2014.
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