- The next time Ed Carpenter, Spencer Pigot, and Danica Patrick take to the 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they will be participating in the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. For Carpenter, it will be his 15th run at The Greatest Spectacle in Racing and the third in which he will lead the field to the green flag as the pole winner. Ed Carpenter Racing’s full-time driver, Spencer Pigot, put forth the best qualifying effort of his Verizon IndyCar Series career, earning himself the 6th starting position on the 33-car grid. Additionally, Patrick will conclude her groundbreaking and historic motorsports career at this year’s 500-mile classic, beginning the race from the 7th position.
- For the third time in six years, Carpenter won the coveted Verizon P1 Award, otherwise known as the pole position for the Indianapolis 500. Carpenter was previously a back-to-back pole winner, qualifying first in both 2013 and 2014. Now, Carpenter is just the 10th driver to collect three or more Indy 500 poles in the century-plus history of the race. His four-lap qualifying average last Sunday of 229.615 miles per hour in his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet was nearly a mile an hour faster than the second-place qualifier; his opening lap of 230.088 was the only unassisted lap over 230 miles per hour the entire month.
- Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 will be Pigot’s third attempt at the Borg Warner Trophy, though his first with Ed Carpenter Racing. In his previous two Indianapolis 500 starts in 2015 (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and 2016 (Juncos Racing), he started 29th. This year, he made the Fast Nine Shootout for the pole position and earned the 6th starting position in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet. It will be the be highest starting position of Pigot 27 Verizon IndyCar Series starts so far, besting a 9th-place start in the INDYCAR Grand Prix earlier this month.
- Thirteen years after her debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Patrick will compete in the No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet in her final race. Patrick elected to end her motorsports career on her own terms, vowing to participate in two final 500-mile races as part of the Danica Double – the Daytona 500 in February and the Indianapolis 500. After tomorrow’s checkered flag, Patrick will turn her attention to her entrepreneurial endeavors, including a wine brand, Somnium, her health and fitness book, Pretty Intense, and her athleisure clothing line, Warrior by Danica Patrick.
- The fastest man in the Indianapolis 500 field is also the only individual who handles both the responsibility of driving the race car and owning his own team. Carpenter, 37, has now shifted his driving focus exclusively to oval events, but he remains one of the most experienced drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series field with over 300 career starts. Last year, he started the Indianapolis 500 from the second position. When he took the lead of the 500-mile race, it marked the 10th season in a row that he had led at least one Indy car race.
- After two years as the road and street course driver of Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Chevrolet, Pigot was elevated to the team’s full-time driver of the No. 21 for 2018. The 24-year-old’s first full season of IndyCar competition is the next step in his career after a wide collection of multiple championships and scholarships along the Mazda Road to Indy. In five years, Pigot became the winningest driver in the MRTI, obtaining four championships and 24 races between USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. All but four of Pigot’s 27 IndyCar starts have been with Ed Carpenter Racing.
- In her motorsports farewell, Patrick will make her eighth Indianapolis 500 start. She will be working to improve upon her career-best Indy 500 finish of third in 2009. Patrick was the first woman to win an Indy car race (the 2008 Indy Japan) and the first woman to lead the Indy 500, which she did as a rookie in 2005. She was also awarded Rookie of the Year honors following her debut, where she started 4th and led 19 laps. In addition to her win in Japan, her seven-year career featured three poles, six podium finishes, and 63 top-10 finishes. In 2012, she transitioned to stock car racing; in 2018, the 36-year-old has returned to the Verizon IndyCar Series to conclude her driving career.
- Ed Carpenter Racing earned the nickname “Team America” in 2015 when ECR was the only multi-car team with an all-American driver line up in the Indianapolis 500. The trend continues through 2018 as Team America’s Indy 500 roster features Pigot (Orlando, Fla.), Patrick (Roscoe, Ill.) and hometown favorite, Carpenter (Indianapolis).
- The 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 will be aired live on ABC, beginning at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 27. The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network will also carry the race on Sirius 219, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 12:21 p.m. ET.
DANICA PATRICK, No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet: “In our final practice, we had a little bit of an electrical issue, but our team was able to get me back out there before practice was over. At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done. I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time and I’m feeling good about starting seventh tomorrow!”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet: “We ran through a couple of things we wanted to try after looking at the data from Monday’s practice. Carb Days are hard, though. It’s only one hour, then you have a couple more days to agonize over exactly how we start the race. The conditions are pretty similar right now to what we’ll have come race time, so the session was good for that. I wouldn’t say today was our best day by any means, but for me, we can rely on the work we have done over the previous week and a half. I’ve felt calm all week and I feel good going into the race. We’ll look through the data from yesterday and the rest of practice, see what we like the best and go from there!”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet: “Carb Day practice was good! We made some solid progress throughout the session since we came in knowing what we needed from the car based on Monday. We needed to accomplish some of that so I’m feeling happy with our Preferred Freezer Services Chevy, and I’m excited about the race!”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!