Ed Jones Will Start 18th, Spencer Pigot Starting 19th After Flying Laps for Both Invalidated

AUSTIN, Texas (March 23, 2019) – Qualifying Notes

– In an unfortunate twist to qualifying for the INDYCAR Classic at Circuit of the Americas, both of Ed Carpenter Racing’s drivers were caught out by identical red flag situations in two different groups. While Ed Jones and Spencer Pigot were on flying laps which had them tracking to advance to the second round of qualifying, other competitors slid off course in the same turn and brought out red flags in both Group 1 and Group 2. With their quick laps invalidated, Jones will have to start tomorrow’s inaugural NTT IndyCar Series race at COTA from the 18th position while Pigot will roll off one row behind in 19th.

– The weekend was off to a tough start for Jones, who lost almost all track time in Friday’s Practice 1 due to a mechanical issue and an extended red flag period. Undeterred, Jones came back in Practice 2 to set the 5th-fastest lap of the day. While Pigot was able to work through many changes yesterday, he was left without a quick lap time. Practice 3 saw Pigot switch to a setup more similar to that of Jones and had the 8th quickest lap in the session. Both drivers turned their fastest laps of the weekend this morning with Pigot putting up a lap of 113.999 miles per hour and Jones at 113.538 miles per hour.

– Pigot, with his even-numbered finishing position this morning of 8th, was assigned to Group 1. Due to the 3.41-mile length of the circuit, Round 1 of qualifying was extended to 12 minutes versus the standard 10. Pigot spent his first lap on the Firestone Firehawks black tires building a gap, then jumped as high as 6th on his second lap. The No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet headed back out on the alternate red Firehawks with enough time to complete one lap. He was tracking to advance to Round 2 when Jack Harvey slid off course three corners ahead of Pigot. The red flag came out, invalidating Pigot’s lap. Without a lap at speed on the red tires, he finished the group in 10th.

– Jones had faced a similar predicament in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg during qualifying and had been unable to get in a lap. Unfortunately, today would yield the same result. Identical to Pigot, Jones was on his one lap on reds and was in a position to advance in Group 2. A red flag for Tony Kanaan off-course, also in Turn 19, came out one corner before Jones completed his lap. His lap time in the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet was deleted, leaving him 9th in his group.

– The annual Spring Training for the NTT IndyCar Series moved to COTA this year, providing two days of testing for all drivers in mid-February. The test was Jones’s first time navigating the 20-turn circuit in any race car. For Pigot, it was a chance to refamiliarize himself with the track as he is one of few drivers in the field who has race experience at COTA. He finished second in Race 1 of the Indy Pro 2000 doubleheader (formerly Pro Mazda) at the track in 2013.

– The Nos. 20 and 21 will continue to carry the colors of car care superstore Autogeek.com at COTA. Over the last 15 years, Autogeek has risen to become one of the most reputable and trusted sources for automotive detailing products and accessories. Through detailing how-to guides and instructional videos, Autogeek provides a wealth of car care know-how for detailers, hobbyists and car care enthusiasts. 

– An extra half hour session was added yesterday afternoon to function as warm up and allow crews to practice pit stops. As that session took the place of a traditional race morning warm-up, the next time Jones and Pigot will be in their Chevrolets is tomorrow’s race. Live television coverage of the INDYCAR Classic will begin at 1 p.m. ET (12 p.m. local) on NBC Sports Network. The green flag will drop for the 60-lap race at 1:43 p.m. ET (12:43 p.m. local).

ED JONES, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet, Starting 18th: “I am very frustrated. We made so much progress over the weekend and were on a lap to transfer, but the red came out one corner before the end so my time was deleted. That’s two weekends in a row now that we haven’t been able to put in an actual qualifying lap and have suffered from it. We seemed really strong yesterday in the warm up when we did a longer run, which I think other people really struggled with. Hopefully, that will work in our favor and we will have better luck tomorrow!”

SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet, Starting 19th: “It is a shame to have to start the race from so far back. With an extra 15 seconds of green flag time, I would have been able to complete that lap and we’d be starting much higher up. Our starting position is disappointing, but fortunately Circuit of the Americas is a long track and there are plenty of opportunities to work our way forward tomorrow.”