ED CARPENTER RACING READIES FOR FINAL OVAL RACE OF THE 2018 SEASON
Ed Carpenter, Spencer Pigot to Race Under the Lights at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday Night
INDIANAPOLIS (August 22, 2018) – Race Preview
– With a second-place oval finish to each of their names this year, the Ed Carpenter Racing drivers now have their sights set on the top step of the podium at the season’s final oval event. The Verizon IndyCar Series heads to Gateway Motorsports Park this weekend in Madison, Ill., just across the river from St. Louis. For team owner Ed Carpenter, who focuses on driving at the oval events, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will be his last race of the 2018 season. For the second time in two weeks and the fifth time this year, Spencer Pigot will compete at a track he has not yet raced at in an Indy car.
– Last weekend, Carpenter and Pigot faced “The Tricky Triangle,” Pocono Raceway’s 2.5-mile triangular oval. The teammates qualified side-by-side in Row 8, with Carpenter starting 15th and Pigot in 16th. Before even reaching the start/finish line at the drop of the green flag, Pigot was hit from behind by another competitor and sent spinning across the track. His No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka crew was able to repair the damage so Pigot could re-enter the race long enough to gain maximum points given the circumstances. Pigot would be credited with 16th in his debut at Pocono. The final 189 of the 200 laps of the ABC Supply 500 were run caution-free. Carpenter would complete the race and convert his 175th Verizon IndyCar Series start into a Top 10 finish.
– While Pigot looks to bounce back from his misfortune at Pocono, Carpenter will be looking for similar redemption after last year’s race at Gateway Motorsports Park. Carpenter recorded one of his best qualifying efforts of the 2017 season at Gateway, starting 5th in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ popular return to the 1.25-mile oval. After a single-car incident during the parade laps, Lap 5 was the first night’s 248 laps to be run under green. After pole sitter Will Power was passed by eventual race winner Josef Newgarden, Power’s car swapped ends and headed for the Turn 2 wall. Takuma Sato and Carpenter both went for the bottom of the track to avoid the accident. The two touched, spinning both cars and sending Carpenter up and over the top of Power. As Gateway was the final oval of the year, Carpenter’s 2017 season came to an early and unsatisfactory conclusion.
– 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. 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 conclude his season this weekend before rookie Jordan King steps back into the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Portland. The 2018 season will conclude in less than a month at Sonoma Raceway.
– Carpenter and Pigot completed a one-day test at Gateway Motorsports Park earlier this month and will climb back in their Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolets for two days of on-track activity this weekend. Practice and qualifying will occur on Friday, August 24, beginning at 12:15 p.m. CT. 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): “I am really looking forward to St Louis. Last year, I felt like we were really going to have a good chance to contend but we got caught up in the first lap accident. I excited to have another chance to go put on a good show for the fans in St Louis!”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I’ve really enjoyed racing on short ovals this year and Gateway is our last chance to do that until 2019. It’s another oval I’ve yet to race at so I’ll have a lot to learn once the green flag drops. If our speed at Iowa can carry over this weekend, we should looking at another strong result for the No 21. Fuzzy’s Vodka team!”
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