FOCUS TURNS TO SATURDAY’S INDYCAR GRAND PRIX AFTER QUALIFICATIONS
Pigot Will Start 16th In First Race At IMS With Ed Carpenter Racing; Hildebrand Starting 21st In 50th Career Verizon IndyCar Series Race
(SPEEDWAY, Ind.) May 12, 2017 – Qualifying Notes
– Ed Carpenter Racing drivers, Spencer Pigot and JR Hildebrand, will turn their attention to tomorrow’s 85-lap INDYCAR Grand Prix after today’s qualification session. Pigot will start 16th in his first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with ECR, while Hildebrand will start 21st in his fourth Month of May with the team.
– The first practice session this morning went well for Pigot, who finished with the 5th-fastest lap after 45 minutes. Both struggled in the second practice session, as Hildebrand was 16th on the time sheets and Pigot was 17th. Hildebrand was then slotted into Group 1 and Pigot into Group 2, with those times setting the qualifying groups.
– Hildebrand was up first, turning two laps on a set of sticker black tires before pitting for a set of sticker red Firestone Firehawks. After leaving the pit lane for his second run, the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet was cited for an unsafe release and Hildebrand had to serve a drive-through penalty. By the time he was able to set a clean lap, the red tires were past their prime and he only managed a lap of 126.133 miles per hour. Thus, causing him to finish 11th in the session and would end his qualification efforts. He will start on the outside of Row 10 tomorrow.
– Pigot followed in suit in Group 2, running three laps on blacks before pitting for reds. He turned a fast lap of 127.347 miles per hour in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet, fast enough for 8th in his group and a starting position on the outside of row 8.
– Hildebrand, making his 50th Indy car start this weekend, has raced with ECR during the last four Months of May. He has started in two INDYCAR Grand Prix races with the team and each of his three Indianapolis 500 starts have yielded Top 10 results. Pigot raced in the 2016 INDYCAR Grand Prix with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, joining ECR for the remainder of the road and street course events two races later.
– Pigot’s best finish of the year came at the street course of Long Beach with an 8th place finish. Hildebrand is coming off of one of the best races and first podium finish of his career, a third place at Phoenix International Raceway. Team owner Ed Carpenter, driver of the No. 20 at the oval events, finished 7th in his first race of 2017 at Phoenix.
– Ed Carpenter Racing earned the nicknamed “Team America” in 2015 when ECR was the only multi-car team with an all-American driver line up in the Indianapolis 500. The trend continues through the 2017 season as “Team America” now features Hildebrand (Sausalito, Calif.), Pigot (Orlando, Fla.), and hometown favorite Carpenter (Indianapolis, Ind.).
– The ABC television broadcast of the INDYCAR Grand Prix will run from 3:30-6 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 13.
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet), Qualified 16th: “It is frustrating not to have qualified higher up based on how well everything went earlier today. We will just have to go back to see where we can improve and have a better day tomorrow.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet), Qualified 21st: “In the end, a frustrating session, we had a balance in the car that was maybe going to be tricky, but it was where we were trying to get to all day. I feel like we made some progress with the setup in terms of finding different things. Our qualifying session was a cluster. We got backed up on our first timed lap, a lap didn’t end up being worth anything. Then, I got a drive thorough for exiting in front of someone else. I found a clear lap at the end, but at that stage the reds were past their prime. It was frustrating to have that kind of a session and to start where we are tomorrow. Indy is definitely a place to pass – guys have come from the back before, so we’ll have to do something similar tomorrow.”
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