King and Spencer Pigot Both Lead Honda Indy Toronto; Pigot Retires From Race In Closing Laps After Brush With Wall

(TORONTO) July 15, 2018 – Race Notes

– Contact with the wall in morning warm-up had Jordan King’s Fuzzy’s Vodka crew hustling to make the grid for today’s Honda Indy Toronto, but King would reward their hard work with his highest finish of 2018. Spencer Pigot was on his way to a Top 10 finish, but a late-race brush with the wall ended his day early. King would finish 11th in the final street course race of 2018 while Pigot would be credited with a 20th place result.

– After three difficult practice sessions, King’s quest for speed proved fruitful in yesterday’s qualifying for the Honda Indy Toronto. He advanced in qualifications by turning the third-fastest lap in the rain during the first round. His quick lap in dry conditions during the second round was over a mile an hour faster than any he had done in practice and he earned himself the 8th position on the starting grid.

– At the other end of the spectrum, Spencer Pigot had turned lap times in the top six during the two practices prior to qualifying. He was only one of two drivers that gambled to start on reds in his group while the track was still wet. Within the last two minutes, the track was the driest and lap times dropped drastically. Pigot’s final lap was his fastest, but drivers who waited to switch to reds had the advantage and Pigot would have to start 16th.

– Early in this morning’s warm up practice session, King hit a bump on the track which jerked the steering wheel out of his hands. Before he could maintain control of the car, he had already made heavy contact with the Turn 8 wall. The damage was believed to be limited to the left-front corner, but repairs proved more extensive than anticipated. The No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka crew completed repairs and rolled the car to the grid with a half an hour to spare before the command to start engines.

– Since the repairs were made to King’s primary car, he was able to maintain his 8th starting position. King and Pigot were two of only four drivers to start the 85-lap race on Firestone’s primary black Firehawks. As drivers on red tires were able to pass them at the start, King fell back to 12th while Pigot dropped to 18th. However, drivers on red tires had to pit sooner and King and Pigot cycled forward. By Lap 24, King had the lead of the race and remained there for six laps. It is the second Verizon IndyCar Series event he has paced the field as he also led the season-opening street race in St. Petersburg, Fla.

– Pigot had also cycled forward as a benefit of starting on black tires and was up to 6th. Only a few turns before Pigot and King were about to make their first stops, the caution flag flew and they were unable to make it into the pit lane before it closed. Committed to a two-stop strategy, both made their pit stops on Lap 29 when the pits opened. The timing of the pit stops under caution dropped them back to the rear of the field and after switching to red tires, King was 15th and Pigot was 17th.

– Two more caution flags followed before the race went back to green for good on Lap 44. As cars involved in the cautions either fell out of the race or had to stop for repairs, King and Pigot again cycled forward. By the Lap 44 restart, King was 12th and Pigot was just behind in 13th. The 24-year-olds went three-wide around Zachary Claman De Melo, both picking up the position. King made his final pit stop before Pigot, stopping on Lap 56 for a set of sticker blacks to finish the race. He was running 7th at the time, coming out of the pit lane in 15th.

– Just prior to his final pit stop, Pigot also took the lead of the race. He led for one lap before making his stop on Lap 59. Knowing he would re-enter the race in traffic, the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services crew elected to outfit Pigot’s car with red Firestone Firehawks. Pigot exited the pit lane in 10th, but passed his way into 9th the following lap. On Lap 63, King was able to work his way around Conor Daly for the 13th position. Takuma Sato made contact the wall two laps later, handing Pigot the 8th position and King 12th.

– On Lap 76, it was Pigot who brushed the wall coming out of Turn 11. He was able to make it around to the pit lane, but a broken wishbone on the right rear would bring his race to an early end. He would be credited with a 20th place finish.

– King moved into 11th with Pigot’s retirement from the race. On the final lap, Marco Andretti exited the pit lane just in front of King. He chased Andretti for the entire lap, but was unable to complete the pass before the checkered flag. King would narrowly miss out on the first Top 10 finish of his Verizon IndyCar Series career, settling for an 11th place result. His finishing position would be higher than his previous best finish of his rookie year, a 12th place at Road America.

– The Verizon IndyCar Series will have an off-weekend before heading to Mid-Ohio Sports Car course in two weeks. Pigot and King will be back in their Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolets for the Honda Indy 200 the final weekend of July. NBC Sports Network will broadcast the race beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 29.

JORDAN KING, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet: “The first few laps were quite tricky, being on blacks while everyone was on reds. With the incident this morning, we weren’t 100% sure where we were with the car. I maybe struggled a bit more in the first stint than I did at the end of the race, I’ll put my hand up for that one! We got to the lead on strategy and once we were in clean air, the pace was quite good. Tim (Broyles, ECR General Manager) was telling me what was happening so I was quite happy. And literally, just about as we were going to come into the pits, no more than 100 meters from the pit commit line, the yellow came out and my heart just sank. It was almost perfect! That dropped us to the back of the field, but I had a couple of good restarts with the yellows that were later. On the last restart, I got pushed a little bit wide and it took me about three laps to recover, just trying to get the dirt off the tires. Those two things were a little bit annoying but overall I thought our pace was good. It was a great job by the Fuzzy’s Vodka guys to get me back out in time for the race and I am glad I could perform for them. It was a decent result, but if the dice had rolled differently for us as we came into the pits I think we could have been set for a solid Top 10, maybe even a bit higher!”

SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet: “I got a lot of marbles on my right front tire and it just took off on me. I was along for the ride. It is a shame, we had moved up quite a lot. The Preferred Freezer Services car was handling pretty well, so it’s frustrating because we threw away a lot of points. It is what it is, but it’s really frustrating. I feel bad for my guys.”


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2:30 p.m. ET

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