- For the second race in a row, British rookie Jordan King broke through the first round of qualifications. King navigated the difficult 1.968-mile, 12-turn street circuit and advanced through to the second round, earning the 12th starting position for tomorrow’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Teammate Spencer Pigot will start the 85-lap race from the 18th position.
- The weekend’s practice sessions posed challenges for both Pigot and King. Pigot was sidelined all but 10 laps of second practice while his crew swapped out the gear stack of his No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet. Meanwhile, an electrical issue ended King’s session early, before he was able to set a quick time on red tires. Both turned their fastest lap of the weekend in this morning’s third practice. Pigot’s top speed of 105.340 miles per hour (mph) was the seventh quickest overall; King was 12th at 104.939 mph. On his final lap of the third session, King went into the tires in Turn 8, resulting in front-end damage to the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet.
- Qualification groups are decided by the lap times in the practice session immediately preceding qualifying, assigning King to Group 1 while Pigot was in Group 2. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship raced immediately prior to qualifying, leaving slick and challenging track conditions for the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers.
- King’s crew deftly worked their way through the necessary repairs and had the No. 20 ready in time for qualifying. The 24-year-old started the 10-minute session on a set of black Firestone Firehawks. After two laps, he pitted for a change to a new set of the softer, faster red Firehawks. His sixth lap was his fastest lap at 103.741 mph and had him sixth overall. The time held as the rest of Group 1 made their way around, advancing King to Round 2.
- Pigot followed in suit, also starting out on sticker black tires for Round 2. He too came into the pit lane after two laps for a set of sticker red Firehawks. His fastest lap of 103.770 mph was his fifth, but was not enough to advance him. The 24-year-old will start 18th in his second Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
- Another 10-minute segment was up next for King, Round 2 of qualifications. He improved on his speed from Round 1, this time turning a quick lap of 104.739 mph on a second set of sticker reds. His time was 12th overall, giving him his starting position for tomorrow’s race.
- The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be only the second Verizon IndyCar Series race for King. The 24-year-old shares the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet with team owner Ed Carpenter, driving the in the road and street course events while Carpenter takes on the ovals. Though he is considered a rookie, King brings years of experience from some of the world’s most famous street circuits and will add another to that list with the Streets of Long Beach.
- Pigot will race the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet for the first time, with the car reverting back to a predominately blue scheme last seen in the 2016 Indianapolis 500. The No. 21 will also run as the Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet at the INDYCAR Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500, both contested at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Honda Indy Toronto, the only international stop on the 2018 schedule. 2018 is the fifth consecutive year that Preferred Freezer Services has backed one of Ed Carpenter Racing’s entries.
- ECR won the 2014 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with Mike Conway behind the wheel of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. It was the team’s first of three wins that season and it’s first on a street course. The Indianapolis-based team began competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2012 and earned seven victories in its first five seasons.
- Pigot and King will have one more half an hour session tomorrow morning to dial in their race set ups. The 85-lap Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be broadcast live on NBCSN, beginning at 4 p.m. ET. on Sunday, April 15.
, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, Qualified 12th: “I was happy to get through the first session as obviously that’s the first thing you’ve got to do. I didn’t get a great lap in on the second session. I think maybe the crash I had earlier made me have to reset slightly, which didn’t help. We should have been closer to the cusp, maybe not quite quick enough to get through. We should have definitely been better than 12th
, 10th or 8th
, that kind of region. Overall still a positive run, but from a personal performance I think there was more to be had.”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet, Qualified 18th: “We’ve made some really good changes to the car throughout the weekend, but this is a tough track. When it came time for qualifying, we really struggled with grip and when we put the red tires on, it just wasn’t there for us. We will go back and look at everything and focus on getting better for tomorrow.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!