Spencer Pigot Finishes 17th, Ed Jones Takes Checkered Flag in 19th in Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

LEEDS, Ala. (April 7, 2019) – Race Notes

– What was shaping up to be a promising day for Ed Carpenter Racing went away two-thirds of the way through today’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Spencer Pigot had parlayed a career-best starting position of 6th into a bold-two stop strategy. However, the timing of the day’s only yellow flag, followed by a penalty, dropped him to the back of the field. Ed Jones, starting 21st, was given a drive-through penalty for jumping the initial start and never had the opportunity to race his way forward. Pigot would finish 17th while Jones took the checkered flag in 19th.

– Pigot and Jones both chose to start the 90-lap race on Firestone’s alternate red Firehawk tires. Jones had to swing his No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet wide prior the green flag to avoid hitting the cars in front of him; however, he continued accelerating and was given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. Pigot lost one position to Alexander Rossi, but settled into a comfortable rhythm in 7th.

– Jones made his first pit stop on Lap 9, opting to go off-strategy and pit early for a set of sticker reds. Pigot was one of two cars to begin looking at a two-stop strategy, staying out while the top five cars made their first stops. Pigot cycled up to 2nd in his No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet.

– Pigot saved enough fuel to stretch his first stop until Lap 28, though he was passed a few of the initial leaders on fresh tires prior to pitting. He came in to the pit lane from 6th, making a switch to sticker blacks. He rejoined the race in 17th, but quickly began to cycle back forward.

– Jones made his second pit stop on Lap 36, also selecting a set of black Firehawks. By the halfway point of the race, Pigot had made his way back up to the 8th position as the highest-running Chevrolet driver while Jones remained in 22nd. Three laps later, Jones would let eventual race winner Takuma Sato by, dropping him one lap behind the field.

– On Lap 56, the car of Graham Rahal slowed on course. Anticipating a full-course caution, Pigot dove into the pit lane for what was meant to be his final stop. He exited his pit box with a full load of fuel and a fresh set of sticker reds to finish the race, but the race remained green.

– Jones was one who took advantage of the still-open pit lane, but was unable to make it into his box when another car was released in front of him. The No. 20 crew had to push Jones into his pit box, but despite the extended length of the pit stop, Jones lost no positions and remained in 21st.

– The caution finally flew on Lap 58 when a second car went off-course. This had awarded most of the Top 10 cars the opportunity to pit as well, so Pigot’s stop one lap prior would be of no extra benefit after all. Pigot was shown in 10th, but was commanded by Race Control to drop to the back of the field due to an unsafe release on his previous pit stop. He took the opportunity to pit for fuel to ensure he would be good until the end of the race, stopping on Lap 64.

– The green flew on Lap 65. Pigot was the last car on the lead lap, running 18th, while Jones was one lap down in 20th. Jones made quick work of Ben Hanley to gain the 19th position and be the first car one lap down. Pigot picked up one position when Tony Kanaan had to make another pit stop in the closing laps. Pigot finished 17th while Jones was 19th.

– Ed Carpenter Racing’s transporters will leave Alabama and head immediately for the West Coast, followed by the No. 20 and No. 21 crews early in the week. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place next weekend in the streets of Long Beach, California. The race will be broadcast live at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 14, 2019 on NBC Sports Network.

ED JONES, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet: “We struggled the whole weekend. We made changes this morning for the race to see if we could make some improvements. In the warmup it felt quite good, but I think we were struggling a bit for the balance in the race. We didn’t ultimately have the pace. It was a long, not very eventful race for us which is not that fun. I made a mistake at the start. People checked up and I got out of line then jumped the start. We got a penalty for that. In the pits at the end there was an unsafe release situation which cost us probably 30 or 40 seconds there. So, probably not an ideal race. I’m happy to have this weekend out of the way after the struggles. It can only get better from here.”

SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet: “It ended up being a really unfortunate race. We went for a two-stop strategy which proved to be difficult, but we thought we would still make it inside the Top 10 at the end. Unfortunately, the yellow came out and we were hit with the pit lane penalty that dropped us to the back. After that, our race was kind of ruined and we only salvaged 17th. We do have some really good things to take away from this weekend and we are looking forward to having a smoother race next week in Long Beach.”