ED CARPENTER RACING HEADS TO PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR PENULTIMATE ROUND OF 2019 INDYCAR SEASON
Ed Jones Back in the No. 20 for Grand Prix of Portland; Spencer Pigot Aiming to Build on Last Year’s Strong Run at Portland International Raceway
INDIANAPOLIS (August 27, 2019) – Race Preview
– Only two races remain in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, beginning with this weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland. Road and street course driver Ed Jones will climb back into the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet for the first time in over a month. Portland International Raceway is home to Spencer Pigot’s highest Indy car finish on a road course, a fourth place he earned one year ago. Ed Carpenter Racing enters the Portland race weekend on the heels of their best result of the year as team owner Ed Carpenter stood on the second step of podium just three days ago.
– As the 2018 Grand Prix of Portland marked the return of Indy car racing to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in 11 years, it was the first race at Portland International Raceway for both Pigot and Jones. Though he had a strong qualifying effort last year, Jones’s race was cut short after just a few turns. He was the fastest driver in Round 1, Group 1 of qualifying, eventually starting the race from the 8th position. On the opening lap, five-car incident occurred just after the chicane. Jones had nowhere to go and was caught in the middle; suspension damage to his car forced him out of contention on the spot.
– Pigot’s first Grand Prix of Portland experience was the opposite of Jones’s. Pigot passed four cars in three turns to move from his starting position of 17th up to 13th. The incident on the opening lap occurred on driver’s left, he went driver’s right and avoided the melee all together. By the end of the first lap, Pigot was up to 8th. Caution flags that complimented his pit strategy solidified his place inside the Top 10, but Pigot wasn’t done. A textbook pass on Lap 81 moved him into the Top 5; when the leader had to pit, he picked up the 4th position. The result still stands as his highest road course finish.
– As road and street course driver of the No. 20, Jones most recently competed at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 28. A road course is home to his best finish of the year to date, 6th place in the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Following that event, he moved over to the No. 63 for the Indianapolis 500 and qualified a career-best fourth. He has reached the Firestone Fast 6 during qualifying on two occasions this year, the IMS road course and the streets of Toronto.
– Last week at WWT Raceway at Gateway, Pigot started his 50th race with Ed Carpenter Racing. Aside from Carpenter, Pigot is the team’s longest-tenured driver. This season, Pigot has earned career-best starting positions at each type of track the series races on – ovals, road courses and street circuits. He earned a spot on the front row of the Indianapolis 500, qualifying 3rd, in between teammates Carpenter and Jones. Pigot has added two 5th place finishes to his credit this year, one at the IMS road course and one at Iowa Speedway. With his result, he extended ECR’s streak of Top 5 finishes at Iowa to seven consecutive years.
– The Grand Prix of Portland will be the third Indy car race in three weeks. Team owner Carpenter has been in the No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet for the previous two events, oval races at Pocono Raceway and WWT Raceway. He finished 6th at Pocono, which matched his best result of the year to that point. Last Saturday night, he returned to the podium. A smart pit strategy shot him to the front of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 field and a fortunately-timed yellow kept him there. Carpenter used years of experience to hold off charges from competitors behind, then surged forward himself in the final five laps. He finished second by just .0399 of a second to give his team their best finish of the year in his last race of the season.
– Ed Carpenter Racing has already made the trek to Portland International Raceway once this year, testing Indy Light driver Rinus Veekay in early August. ECR will return to Portland on Thursday before three days of on-track activity. INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold will air Friday’s two practice sessions and Saturday’s third practice. Qualifying will be shown live on NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports Gold on Saturday, August 31 at 6 p.m. ET. The 105-lap Grand Prix of Portland will begin on NBC at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 1.
ED JONES, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet: “Portland is such a great setting for an Indy car race and turned into one of my favorite tracks! I was really quick there last year leading up to the race, but unfortunately I didn’t make it past the first lap after being caught up in an incident. I am excited to get back in the car and hopefully we can start off strong. It is important to have a good ending to the season as there are only two races left to go.”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet: “I’m excited to get back to Portland. Unfortunately, we’re coming off two DNF’s so we really need a good weekend. We finished 4th in the Grand Prix of Portland last year so hopefully we will be able to better that result this weekend! The event last year was amazing and I can’t wait to see all the fans packing the track again.”
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