Spencer Pigot Turns Top 5 Lap Times in Practice But Caught Out By Changing Track Conditions During Qualifying

TORONTO (July 14, 2018) – Qualifying Notes

– Jordan King’s quest for speed proved fruitful during qualifications for the Honda Indy Toronto this afternoon. Despite difficult track conditions, King was able to turn a lap over a mile an hour faster than any he had done in practice to earn himself the 8th position on tomorrow’s starting grid. At the other end of the spectrum, Spencer Pigot was caught out by changing track conditions during his qualifying session. Though he had speeds in the top five in practice, Pigot’s tires were not in optimum condition at the end of his run and he will start 16th in his third Honda Indy Toronto.

– Every driver in the field turned their fastest lap of practice this morning during Practice 3 and all 23 cars were only separated by 1.3 seconds. King had not been behind the wheel at the Canadian street circuit before yesterday’s first practice and he turned 62 laps over the course of the three sessions. The rookie’s best lap of 107.734 mph came early in this morning’s practice and put him 18th on the overall time chart. Pigot finished yesterday with the 6th fastest time of the day, but bettered that this morning and was 5th overall at 109.063 mph.

– In a twist, rains came to the 11-turn, 1.786-mile street circuit prior to qualifying. Just before to Round 1, Group 1, which included King, the session was declared wet. The No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka crew outfitted King’s Chevrolet with wet condition Firestone Firehawks. King was sitting 6th when session was interrupted after four minutes after Ed Jones brought out a red flag. By the time the green flag came out, all drivers would only have time for one more lap. King’s last lap was his fastest at 86.629 mph on the wet tires, good enough for 3rd in the group and a spot in Round 2.

– Precipitation stopped right at the end of Group 1 and resulted in a rapidly-drying track in between the groups. Just as Group 2 went green, Pigot’s No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services crew made the call to start on sticker red Firestone Firehawks. Only two of the 12 drivers in Group 2 elected to go with reds instead of wets, shooting Pigot to the top of the charts where he remained as each lap was quicker than his last. In the final minute of the session, lap times decreased dramatically as the circuit dried up. Drivers who waited to switch to reds had tires in a more optimum condition and though Pigot’s last lap was his fastest, there was not enough speed left to contend with other driver’s newer reds. His lap of 106.833 mph will have him starting 16th in tomorrow’s race.

– By reaching the Top 12, King has advanced at each street circuit which has featured knockout qualifying. The track remained dry as Round 2 began, giving King the opportunity to use a set of sticker reds for the first time in qualifying. Because he had not used slicks in Round 1, he was able to pit after five laps for another set of reds. Near the end of the session it started to sprinkle, again causing the track to become slippery. Despite the conditions, on his eighth and final lap, King came across the line with a speed of 108.817 mph. The lap would be over a mile an hour faster than his best of the weekend until that point and awarded him the 8th position on the starting grid for his first Honda Indy Toronto.

– Pigot came into the Honda Indy Toronto race weekend with momentum on his side. The 24-year-old raced his way through the entire field last weekend at Iowa Speedway, starting 18th and finishing 2nd at the end of the 300-lap race. Not only was it his career-best Verizon IndyCar Series finish, it was also his first Indy car podium. His ability to work his way through the field was also evident in last year’s Honda Indy Toronto when he passed seven cars in the first 15 green flag laps.

– Tomorrow’s Honda Indy Toronto will not only be King’s first race at the street circuit, it will also be his first race in Canada. Though just 24 years old, King has raced in over 25 countries across the world but not yet Canada. In the season-opening street course race in St. Petersburg, Fla., King set the track record in qualifying, made the Firestone Fast 6 and took the lead of the race on only the fifth lap. At the street course in Long Beach, King advanced to the second round in qualifying and had raced his way into the Top 5 before a braking issue forced him to spend extended time in the pit lane and lose a lap to the leaders. The Honda Indy Toronto is the last of five street circuit races on the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series calendar.

– Ed Carpenter Racing is familiar with victory in the streets of Toronto, winning back-to-back races in 2014 and 2015. The team’s first 1-2 finish occurred at the conclusion of the 2015 Honda Indy Toronto, when Josef Newgarden held off teammate Luca Filippi to take the win. Mike Conway brought home the win in 2014 for ECR. Pigot has also been successful in Toronto, winning both races of the 2015 Indy Lights doubleheader. He led flag-to-flag in the second event, the same day as ECR’s 1-2 finish.

– The 2018 Honda Indy Toronto will feature 85 laps around the 11-turn street circuit. The NBC Sports Network broadcast of the 12th race of the Verizon IndyCar Series will begin at 3 p.m. ET tomorrow, Sunday, July 15th.

JORDAN KING, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet: “That was a really tricky qualifying session with it raining, then got dry and then started raining again. We did a good job in the first session on the wet tires. We got through to the second round by a few tenths, but I knew that would be the hard one. Group 2 had already had some running on the slicks and had a feel for how the track was where we had just been out in the rain. Even with it being a bit greasy, I set my fastest time of the weekend so I feel I upped my own performance a bit. We really worked on the car and ironed out a lot of the issues we’d had so far this weekend. The car is back up there where it should be, where we have been in the past. I think we could have snuck inside the Top 6, but I was taking a small margin because you could still see rain on your visor. I’m happy with it, but it was close!”

SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet: “We just put the red tires on too soon. We started the session with them and by the end of it, when the track was at its best and it’s driest, we had already used the tires up. We were pretty high up throughout most of the session, but times picked up pretty quick there at the end. The timing wasn’t right to put on a second set; but in hindsight, we should have done blacks then reds. That was the original plan, but the weather threw a curveball at us. It’s a little disappointing as we’ve been so quick. We know the car can be fast, so tomorrow we’ll get the Preferred Freezer Services car moving in the right direction. We’ll have a lot of work to do in the race, we were pretty confident we would be advancing today. We were just a little too eager on the dry tires and wore them out too quick.”


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May 15, 2021

2:30 p.m. ET

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