Josef Newgarden Will Start 10th, Spencer Pigot Starts 19th in GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. (September 17, 2016) – Preview Notes

– The grid has been set for the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season, set to take place tomorrow at Sonoma Raceway. Ed Carpenter Racing driver Josef Newgarden will start 10th in tomorrow’s 85-lap race. Teammate and rookie Spencer Pigot will roll off from the 19th position.

– Newgarden’s morning practice session ended early after he made contact with a tire barrier. The damage was contained to the front wing and front suspension and the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet was ready for qualifying. In the sessions leading up to qualifying, Pigot found it difficult to find enough clear track to set a fast lap on his new tire runs.

– With the 16th and 18th fastest practice times, Newgarden and Pigot were both in Round 1, Group 1 for qualifying. Newgarden’s fast lap of 111.951 miles per hour had him sitting fourth at the end of the session, enough to advance to Round 2. Pigot set his fastest lap of 111.066 miles per hour on his final lap, but was 10th in the group and did not continue.

– For Round 2, Newgarden turned four timed laps with a fast lap of 111.776 miles per hour. It was quick enough for 10th on the time charts, giving him his starting position on tomorrow’s grid. Pigot’s lap from Round 1 will have him starting 19th in the No. 20 Samsung Chevrolet.

– Newgarden is concluding another stellar season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He has started on the front row of three events, including qualifying second for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 where he finished third. Midway through the season, the 25-year-old suffered a broken right clavicle and a small fracture in his right hand during the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. He missed no races, returning to the car two weeks later at Road America. One month after the accident, Newgarden dominated the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway, leading 282 of 300 laps on his way to his third Indy car victory and first on an oval. He has 10 Top 10 finishes, six Top 5s and four podiums in 15 races this season.

– The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will be Pigot’s first Indy car race at Sonoma Raceway. The 2015 Indy Lights champion was announced as the road and street course driver for the No. 20 one week after running in his first Indianapolis 500. Sonoma will be only his 10th Indy car race and 7th with Ed Carpenter Racing. He has two Top 10 finishes with ECR, including driving to a 7th place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after starting 19th. Pigot has been running at the finish of every race he has competed in this year.

– While the 2016 championship will be decided between Team Penske drivers Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, Newgarden is locked in a tight battle for the 3rd position. Newgarden currently sits 5th in the standings, five points behind Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves who are tied for 3rd. The GoPro Grand Prix at Sonoma Raceway is worth double points with the winner earning 100. Four additional points are available – one for pole, one for leading a lap and two for leading the most laps.

– Live coverage of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 18, also on NBCSN.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 21 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET, STARTING 10TH: “We did a good job as a group getting a decent result in qualifying. It’s a good Top 10 starting spot. We would have liked more, I think everyone would have, but that’s ok! We’re still in a strong position to attack tomorrow. We’re still going to have a great racecar, we know how to build a fast racecar here. I have all the confidence that we’ll be quick and can capitalize from our starting spot!”

SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 20 SAMSUNG CHEVROLET, STARTING 19TH: “The balance shifted more than we thought from black tires during practice to reds during qualifying. We did two sets of reds for our qualifying run. The first set was tricky; it was hard to get rear grip. The second set, we were just trying to put a lap together because we hadn’t had a solid one on the first run. It was a tough session but we’ll give it a shot tomorrow during the race!”


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