Sebastian Saavedra Is In As The New Driver Of The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports No. 7

Mikhail Aleshin
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) has announced Sebastian Saavedra as the driver of the No. 7 Honda for the next two Verizon IndyCar Series races. The Colombian will join teammate James Hinchcliffe at Pocono Raceway and Gateway Motorsports Park.

The event at Pocono will mark the 27-year-old’s 64th career IndyCar start and third at the Tricky Triangle. Saavedra will once again be paired with race engineer Blair Perschbacher with whom he has won previously in the Indy Lights Championship.

“I am very excited to be back with the SPM organization,” Saavedra commented. “It’s another late call to jump in, but I take it with pride after a promising start of our relationship in Toronto. Looking forward to a challenging event as the Tricky Triangle can be, and support Hinchcliffe in his pursuit of championship points. I’m thankful to my sponsors and my continued relationship with AFS Inc.”

President and CEO of AFS Inc. Gary Peterson noted: “It’s great to team up with Sam after the great rivalry we had in the Lights championship. After Sebastian’s positive performance in Toronto, the next two events will be an opportunity to show his strength on ovals and that he is a great candidate for the 2018 season with SPM.”

“Delighted to have Sebastian back with the SPM team following what was a very encouraging performance at the Toronto event,” said Piers Phillips, General Manager of SPM. “He is experienced and competent, and I have no doubt he will contribute to the overall performance of the team. We’re heading to Pocono full of confidence as a team and we’re looking forward to hopefully seeing Sebastian and James at the front of the pack.”

The No. 7 Lucas Oil Honda will highlight AFS Racing for this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 and next week’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500. Fans will be able to see Saavedra in action beginning with practice at9:00 a.m. ET this Saturday, August 19 at


Andretti Autosport Readies For The ABC Supply 500 At Pocono

Andretti Autosport Sheild
Andretti Autosport
Verizon IndyCar Series

  • Marco Andretti is just three laps shy of leading 1,000 laps during his Verizon IndyCar Series career. This weekend serves as a “home race” for the Nazareth, Pennsylvania-native.
  • The No. 26 car of Takuma Sato will wear Expedite Home Loans branding, a division of Ruoff Home mortgage who dressed his car for the Indianapolis 500 and again at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
  • Alexander Rossi seeks redemption from last year’s race where he led four laps before making contact with Charlie Kimball on pit lane which sent him airborne.
  • The ABC Supply 500 of 2015 was the last time Ryan Hunter-Reay took the top step of the podium, the American finished third at Pocono in 2016.

No. 26 Expedite Home Loans Honda

“Pocono Raceway is truly one of my favorite tracks. The venue is set up in a great natural environment that I always enjoy and the track is very challenging. The characteristic of this ‘Tricky Triangle’ is so much fun that every corner is totally different. The sensation of speed going into high-banked Turn 1 is very impressive and the balance of the car shifts, particularly Turn 3, quite neutral as it will gets much less banking, is very, very challenging. It is followed by a long straight which give us a great overtaking opportunity too, so the race here is always exciting. We have been ultra competitive on the superspeedway and I’m looking forward to have an another super weekend in the Expedite Home Loans car.”

Current Points Standings: 7 (381 pts.)

Pocono IndyCar History

Number of Starts: 4       Best Start: 3 (2016)        Best Finish: 6 (2015)

No. 98 Andretti Autosport / Curb Honda

“Pocono is one of my favorite tracks on the calendar and it is a special one with the whole Andretti family being from the area. We have some unfinished business to take care of this weekend from last year when our day ended prematurely after we felt like we had a car to win. This team always has something special for the superspeedways and since it is our last one of the year, we want to make sure to close this portion of the schedule out with a win for the 98 team.”

Current Points Standings: 8 (358 pts.)

Pocono IndyCar History

Number of Starts: 1       Best Start: 7 (2016)        Best Finish: 20(2016)
No. 28 DHL Honda

“I’ve really been looking forward to getting back to Pocono. There’s no doubt the DHL Honda has been very strong here the past few years. Last year’s unfortunate electrical issue that occurred while leading sent us to the back of the field, yet we were still able to come all the way back through the field to finish third. As a team, we feel like we have a few things to accomplish at Pocono. Certainly, one of our best chances at a victory over the past year slipped away, so we’re looking for redemption.”

Current Points Standings: 12 (297 pts.)

Pocono IndyCar History
Number of Starts: 4        Best Start: 2 (2013)        Best Finish: 1 (2015)

No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda

“Pocono is an important race to me as it is a home race and I will have a lot of family and friends at the track cheering us on. UFD is also based nearby and it would be great to have a good result for Bill [Hynes], Chad [Taylor] and the whole UFD family. We’ve sat on the pole at Pocono but not on the podium, so I can’t help but feel like I have unfinished business in Long Pond.”

Current Points Standings: 13 (286 pts.)

Pocono IndyCar History

Number of Starts: 4        Best Start: 1 (2013)        Best Finish: 9 (2014)


Ed Carpenter Racing Is Ready To Attack Pocono

Ed Carpenter

  • The second of two 500-mile races on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series calendar awaits Ed Carpenter Racing’s drivers this weekend at Pocono Raceway. JR Hildebrand and team owner Ed Carpenter will take on the 2.5-mile, three-turn triangular oval nicknamed “The Tricky Triangle” in Long Pond, PA on Sunday, August 20.
  • In 2013, the Verizon IndyCar Series returned to Pocono Raceway for the first time since 1989. Carpenter has competed in each race since, with a highest qualifying position of 10th last year and a best finish of 9th in 2013. Hildebrand, whose last full-time season prior to this year was 2012, has not yet competed at Pocono. 2017 will mark the 24th year of Indy car racing at the track nestled in the Pocono Mountains.
  • Last year’s ABC Supply 500 was just over a quarter of the way to completion when Carpenter radioed in that his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet had lost power. He coasted in from Turn 2, bringing the car to a stop in his pit box on Lap 57. The electrical failure was deemed terminal and Carpenter exited the car, credited with a 21st place. The sister No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka car, then driven by Josef Newgarden, finished 4th after starting on the outside of the front row.
  • The last time Carpenter and Hildebrand competed in a 500-mile race, they were at the 2.5-mile oval of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Carpenter qualified 2nd for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500, giving ECR their 4th front row start in the past five years. Hildebrand earned the best qualifying position of his career at Indianapolis and started 6th. Both drivers led laps in the event; when Carpenter took the lead, 2017 became the 10th year in a row in which he has led a Verizon IndyCar Series race.

JR Hildebrand

  • Hildebrand has collected solid results at the majority of the oval races this season. In addition to leading the Indianapolis 500, he scored podium finishes at two of the four oval races so far this year. Just 20 days removed from breaking a bone in his left hand in a last-lap incident at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Hildebrand turned 250 laps under the lights at Phoenix Raceway and raced his way to a 3rd place finish. Last month at Iowa Speedway, he topped that performance when he matched his career-best Indy car result and finished 2nd.
  • Pocono will be the penultimate race of Carpenter’s season, who competes exclusively in the oval events. The only owner/driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series has finished no worse than 12th in his four races so far this year, including a 7th place at Phoenix. In addition to his front row start at Indianapolis, he also qualified 4th at Iowa. Carpenter has been quick throughout the year, recording the fastest lap times in practice sessions at Indianapolis and Texas Motor Speedway and the second-fastest lap in final practice at Iowa.
  • The design of each of Pocono’s three turns draws inspiration from different race tracks. Turn 1 is modeled after New Jersey’s Trenton Speedway (closed in 1980), Turn 2 mimics the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Turn 3 is comparable to the Milwaukee Mile. The 2017 ABC Supply 500 at “The Tricky Triangle” will air live on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 20.


ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet): “I have always really enjoyed racing an Indy car at Pocono. It’s such a challenging track that requires a lot of work to get the right setup on the car. While we’ve had good cars there in the past, good results have eluded us. It’s my second-to-last race of the year, so I’m hopeful we can get the finish we have been working towards!”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet): “I’m excited to put my first laps in around Pocono and just really looking forward to getting back on track! Pocono’s a very unique place that I know can be pretty tough, so I’m anxious to get out there and work with the team. Hopefully, we’ll put together another solid weekend at an oval race!”


Expedite Home Loans Joins Andretti Autosport At Pocono

Andretti Autosport Sheild
Andretti Autosport
The online-based company will serve as primary sponsor for Takuma at the ABC Supply 500 
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 14, 2017) – Continuing their partnership with Andretti Autosport, Expedite Home Loans, an online division of Ruoff Home Mortgage, will embellish the No. 26 Honda of Takuma Sato. Expedite Home Loans will join the team for this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, chasing the checkered flag with the reigning Indy 500 champion.

“We’re extremely proud to continue to grow our partnership with Ruoff Home Mortgages and to welcome their Expedite Home Loans division to our livery lineup,” said Michael Andretti. “Takuma and the No. 26 team will be working hard this weekend to bring the partnership to victory lane once again.” Fort Wayne, Indiana-based, Ruoff Home Mortgage, has built an impressive resume with Andretti Autosport in their first season with the team. Following the 101st Indianapolis 500 victory, the residential home mortgage company has paired with Sato and Andretti Rallycross teammate Scott Speed to add more impressive results to their resume, including Sato’s fifth-place finish at Mid-Ohio and Speed’s victory at the Red Bull Global Rallycross Round 7 in Indianapolis.

Andretti Autosport’s Verizon IndyCar Series drivers compete at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, this weekend with qualifying broadcast Saturday, Aug. 19, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. INDYCAR racing from the Tricky Triangle airs live on Sunday, Aug. 20, on NBC Sports Network at 2 p.m. ET.

About Ruoff Home Mortgage
Founded in 1984, Ruoff Home Mortgage is a full-service residential mortgage company with 27 branches throughout Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Florida. They have been ranked on the Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America for the past four years and are also ranked in the Top 100 Mortgage Lenders by Mortgage Executive Magazine.  Ruoff Home Mortgage is also licensed to originate in the states of Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
About Andretti Autosport
Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport boasts a wide racing portfolio rooted in tradition and designed for success. Together with Andretti Formula E and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IndyCar Series and Indy Lights, along with entries in the FIA Formula E Championship and Global Rallycross. The company boasts four IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007, 2012), two Indy Lights titles (2008, 2009), one Pro Mazda championship (2013) and one USF2000 championship (2010) and has captured victory five times at the famed Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (2005, 2007, 2014, 2016, 2017). Additionally, the team holds two X Games Gold Medals and two Global Rallycross championship (2015, 2016). To share in the Andretti story, please visit online at and follow along on Twitter via @FollowAndretti.


Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Mikhail Aleshin Part Ways

Mikhail Aleshin
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced today that Mikhail Aleshin will not return to drive the No. 7 Lucas Oil Honda for the remainder of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The first Russian driver in Indy car racing will instead continue working with his sponsor, SMP Racing, in sports-car racing.

The INDYCAR team issued a statement on the decision:

“Mikhail Aleshin, the Russian SMP Racing program driver, will not be returning to the No. 7 Honda for the remainder of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season,” the statement read. “Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and SMP Racing have mutually agreed that the Russian driver will focus on the design and development of the new BR1 LMP1 car.

“Aleshin is the key SMP Racing driver working on the new LMP1 prototype BR1 which shall be ready for its first test session in the near future. Designed by Russian company BR Engineering, in cooperation with Dallara, the BR1 of SMP Racing team will debut in FIA World Endurance Championship in 2018.”

Aleshin, 30, has driven in 46 Verizon IndyCar Series races for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports since 2014, with a best finish of second place twice (Houston-2 in 2014 and Pocono in 2016). He is 16th in this year’s standings with a best finish of sixth in the first race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader weekend.

The team did not name a replacement driver for the remainder of the 2017 season.


Team Penske Had A Great Day At The Honda Indy 200

Josef Newgarden

Track:                      Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Race:                       Honda Indy 200

Date:                        July 30, 2017



No. 1 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 7th

Finish: 4th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 90/90

Laps Led: 0

Points Position (deficit): 4th (-17 pts.)


Recap: Simon Pagenaud’s weekend really hinged on Saturday’s qualifying session for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  The reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion came up a little short in qualifying and it carried over to Sunday’s race result, though he produced another solid finish in the No. 2 Menards Chevrolet. Pagenaud missed making the Fast Six round of qualifying Saturday by mere hundredths of a second and was relegated to a seventh-place start for Sunday’s race. The 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio road course is notoriously known as a tough place to pass, which increases the importance of track position from the outset of the race. Pagenaud moved into the top five after the first round of pit stops but really had a difficult time advancing farther than that. The Menards Chevrolet team worked a different tire strategy than their Team Penske teammates, but it wasn’t enough to get Pagenaud to the front of the field. The native of Montmorillon, France did have some memorable battles on track with teammate Helio Castroneves and former Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, but ultimately he wasn’t able to defend his Mid-Ohio win from 2016 . With the fourth-place finish, Pagenaud has recorded top-five results in five of his last six starts and he earned his 11th top 10 of the season in just 13 outings. In a bit of a points anomaly, Pagenaud dropped from third to fourth in the standings Sunday, but he is two points closer to the top spot than he was following the previous event in Toronto as he trails leader and teammate Josef Newgarden by just 17 points.


Quote: “The Menards Chevy was good all weekend. I do wish that we could have qualified a little better just to decrease the number of cars to get around. It was kind of a neutral day in the championship but that’s all right. We’re right there and it will come down to Sonoma. Congratulations to Josef (Newgarden). They’re really on a roll right now.”



No. 2 PPG Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start:  2nd

Finish: 1st   (6th career INDYCAR victory)

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 90/90

Laps Led: 73

Points Position (lead): 1st (+7)


Recap: Coming on the heels of his win at Toronto two weeks ago, Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 PPG Paints Chevrolet crew made it two in a row Sunday as they earned their third win of the season at the Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200. Newgarden started the race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course from the second position after his best qualifying result of the season Saturday, finishing second only to teammate and Verizon P1 Pole Award Will Power. After the green flag flew to start Sunday’s race, the Tennessee-born Newgarden quickly moved to the front of the field after making an impressive pass for the lead to get by Power on Lap 13. Newgarden flexed his muscle after that as he began to pull away from the pack, opening up leads between five to seven seconds on his pursuers for most of the remainder of the race. He only lost the lead as pit stops cycled through as he led a dominant 73 of 90 laps on the day. The No. 2 PPG Paints crew had flawless and well-timed pit stops throughout the afternoon to help key the victory. Shortly after his final stop of the day, Newgarden had one of his few tense moments when the only caution flag of the race flew after Ed Jones spun on track. With competitors behind him on the faster Firestone alternate red tires while Newgarden was on primary black tires, the first-year Team Penske driver held serve and maintained the lead on the Lap 71 race restart and pulled away in the closing laps to beat Power to the finish line by 5.155 seconds. Newgarden’s sixth career Verizon IndyCar Series victory enabled him to capture the series championship lead for the first time in his career and he became the first American to lead the series standings since Ryan Hunter-Reay won the 2014 title. Newgarden will carry a seven-point lead over teammate Helio Castroneves heading into the next race of the season on August 20 at Pocono Raceway.


Quote: “I felt like we were a little stronger at the start than Will (Power). He was good, and we had a decent gap to (Takuma) Sato, I think. We were holding fairly steady. I think Will was struggling a little more than me, and I just didn’t want to wait behind him. We were either going to pass him on track in a straight-up pass or pass him on the pit cycle. That was our plan. I didn’t want to wait until the pits. I felt like I had an opportunity, so I just tried to time something and pull a move on him. He gave me a lot of racing room like a great teammate. I think he knew we were a little bit quicker. So he gave me good room, and once we got past him, I thought we were really fast. It was a good day for the PPG Chevrolet. Pretty smooth, for the most part. Still stressful. It’s always stressful, even when the car is fast. It seemed like the car was working on reds and blacks. It didn’t really matter. It just got better throughout the race and as the track gripped up. Only real drama was the restart, it felt like we were on the wrong tire again, kind of like Road America. Fortunately, we had a bit of a buffer with the car in between. It’s great to take over the lead in points, but there’s so much racing to do. I don’t really pay attention to it.”



No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start:  5th

Finish: 7th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 90/90

Laps Led: 0

Points Position (deficit): 2nd (-7)


Recap: Following a solid seventh-place run in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, Helio Castroneves remains second in the championship standings with just four races now remaining, but he’s got a bit of a different view. Castroneves is now looking up at a different person, as the Verizon IndyCar Series points lead shifted from Scott Dixon to teammate and Sunday’s race winner Josef Newgarden, but Castroneves remains in the thick of the title chase. The three-time Indy 500 winner has narrowly missed the season title in previous seasons, but he is well positioned as the 2017 season heads into the homestretch. Castroneves started Sunday’s race in the fifth spot and ran among the top five for the majority of the 90-lap race. However, on a Lap 71 restart following a caution period caused by an Ed Jones spin, Castroneves lost a couple of positions when the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet encountered its engine limiter. The result was a seventh-place finish for Castroneves as it marked his fourth consecutive top-10 result dating back to an early-race accident at Texas Motor Speedway. For the season, Castroneves has produced 12 top-10 finishes in 13 races – including a win at Iowa – as the model of consistency in 2017.


Quote: “That was a tough race. These cars are so physical to drive. We only had the one caution that didn’t really affect anyone, I don’t think. On that restart, I had some sort of glitch that took away a bunch of power for a couple of seconds and two cars went around me like I was standing still. That’s unfortunate. But it was a decent day in points for the Hitachi Chevrolet team. A super day for Josef (Newgarden). Congratulations to that group. He leapfrogged us, but we’re still in second. We head to a couple of ovals now which could really mix things up. It’s going to be a battle. That’s for sure.”




No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 1st (49th career INDYCAR pole position)

Finish: 2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 90/90

Laps Led: 14

Points Position (deficit): 5th (-52)


Recap: After bad luck struck following early contact at Toronto, No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet driver Will Power bounced back strong in Sunday’sVerizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a second-place finish. Power began the weekend capturing the Verizon P1 Pole Award to give him the prime piece of track real estate that is the top starting spot. As the race began, Power showed off his veteran ability as he held back the field and maintained the early lead. Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden was able to get by Power on for the lead on Lap 13 and after a strong first pit stop of the race, Power continued to run in second place. Power was still second as he came into the pits for primary compound tires, fuel and a one-turn front wing adjustment on Lap 42 after telling his team on the radio that he was suffering from understeer issues. He continued behind Newgarden in the second spot as he visited the pits on Lap 67 for alternate compound tires and fuel. Shortly after, the caution flag waved as the No. 19 car spun on track. As the field restarted on Lap 71, Power tried to put pressure on Newgarden but a lapped car factored into the battle and Power never got the run he was hoping for. Over the closing laps, Power did a good job to hold off the hard-charging Graham Rahal, who was fighting hard for second at his home race. Power brought home a runner-up result, his fourth career second-place finish at Mid-Ohio. The performance showed he is still very much in the championship hunt as he is now just 52 points behind Newgarden, the new series leader, with a total of 401 points.


Quote: “I know we started on the pole and finished second and that could be viewed as coming up short in some way, but it was a very good finish for the Verizon Chevrolet. We really weren’t on the pace all weekend and really got the most out of qualifying. So second, for the pace of my car, that was as good as we could get today. We’ve had too many seconds in this place, though. Josef (Newgarden) was super fast today. He was just flying around today.”



Next Race: The Verizon IndyCar Series takes a short break before heading to Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, for the ABC Supply 500 on Sunday, Aug. 20 with race coverage beginning at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Tune into the INDYCAR Radio Network or log on to for additional coverage.


Andretti Autosport Fared Well At Mid-Ohio

Andretti Autosport Sheild
Andretti Autosport

The 90-lap Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio has seen the twin checkers with Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi leading the way for Andretti Autosport. Sato secured his fourth top-five finish of the season, placing the Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda into the fifth position. Rossi climbed three positions to sixth, earning his seventh top-10 finish of 2017. Ryan Hunter-Reay recovered the DHL car from an early race spin to salvage an eighth-place result while Marco Andretti brought home the No. 27 in 12th after spending the latter portions of the race seeking high fuel conservation.

The team will take a two week break before heading to the Tricky Triangle for the second 500-mile race of the 2017. Round 14 will go green on Sunday, August 20, with broadcast on NBC Sports Network.

No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda
  • Started 3rd // Finished 5th
  • Championship: 7th (381 pts.)
  • Secured his fourth top-five finish of the season
“I think starting third and finishing fifth isn’t the perfect scenario, but we had an issue in the pits and then we lost a couple of places when we went back out on track. At the least, it was actually fun. We overtook a couple cars and then regained and recovered the position. I think the four Andretti Autosport cars had a solid day under difficult circumstances and I think that we performed really well. Let’s just say, the rest of the season we just need to have a solid performance to bring back the championship points.”
No. 98 / Curb Honda
  • Started 9th // Finished 6th
  • Championship: 8th (358 pts.)
  • Set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 42 before completing his second career Mid-Ohio race in sixth

“We chose a pretty aggressive strategy starting on blacks [Firestone primary tires] and I think it was working pretty well for us, but unfortunately the stint on used [Firestone alternate] reds was a lot more challenging than we originally thought it would be. We lost about 12 seconds on the reds and that was the difference for us between challenging for a podium and finishing sixth.”

On the incident with teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay: 
“I was on reds and [Ryan] was on blacks – it was a 50/50 deal and it’s unfortunate that would ever happen to a teammate. We talked about it, we’ll move on and get back to working together in Pocono.”

No. 28 DHL Honda
  • Started 10th // Finished 8th
  • Championship: 12th (297 pts.)
  • Was working his way into the top five with 17 laps complete when contact with teammate Alexander Rossi spun the 28 car, resulting in lost track position
“We had a good race going today and the DHL team was going to be top-five no doubt, until we made contact with Rossi. That really set us back. We stayed at it and were able to salvage a race that was going to be absolutely terrible and managed to keep it inside the top eight.”
No. 27 #CheckIt4Andretti Honda
  • Started 14th // Finished 12th
  • Championship: 13th (286 pts.)
  • Fought hard in the No. 27, showing speed before eventually being caught out by a short fill during a pit stop in the final stages of the race
“We didn’t qualify as high as we wanted, so we knew we’d have a little bit of work starting from 14th… and we were running well and had made up ground. Then, on the second to last stop, we had a short fill and didn’t get all the fuel into the car, which put us in fuel-saving mode. From there we had to make huge fuel numbers to make it to the end. I’m not sure if we had the car to win, but I do know it’s hard to contend when you’re saving fuel – so that was our day made. We’ll get back at it in Pocono.”


The Breaks Did Not Fall For Hildebrand and Pigot At Mid-Ohio

JR Hildebrand

  • JR Hildebrand looked to be on his way to a solid Top 10 finish today at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when a late-race yellow flag closed the pit lane at the exact moment he needed to make his final stop. Forced to stop in closed pit for a splash of fuel, Hildebrand dropped to the rear of the lead lap and finished the Honda Indy 200 in 17th. Teammate Spencer Pigot took the checkered flag in 19th after completing the 90-lap race in a back up car.
  • The day got off to a rough start for Pigot, who went off course in morning warm-up after hitting a curb in the final corner.  He made heavy contact with a concrete barrier head-on, but was cleared and released from the infield care center. The damage to the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet was too substantial for trackside repairs, so the two Ed Carpenter Racing crews came together to prepare a back up car in a matter of hours for Pigot to use in the race.

  • Pigot retained his starting position of 16th while Hildebrand rolled off 19th, both drivers beginning the race on primary black Firestone Firehawks. Because of that strategy, both were able to stay out longer than the drivers who chose to start the race on the alternate red tires. Pigot had cycled up to 10th at the time of his first stop, pitting on Lap 15 for a set of scuffed reds.
  • A spin by Ryan Hunter-Reay after contact with Alexander Rossi on Lap 18 looked to have the potential to bring out a full-course caution, so Hildebrand quickly ducked into the pit lane while running 3rd. However, Hunter-Reay was able to continue and the anticipated yellow did not come. After a switch to sticker red tires, Hildebrand rejoined the race in 17th.
  • It was a quiet second stint for both drivers, allowing Hildebrand to focus on fuel conservation. Both cycled forwards as the stint wore on and the leaders stopped. Pigot made his second stop from 15th on Lap 41, pitting for fuel and a set of sticker red tires. Hildebrand had climbed up to 7th and came into the pit lane on the following lap for a set of scuffed reds. Hildebrand re-entered the race in 12th while Pigot was relegated in 20th, directly in front eventual race winner Josef Newgarden. Pigot was able to run lap times consistent with Newgarden’s and remained in front of him and on the lead lap until Lap 62.
  • Pigot made his third stop on Lap 64 for sticker black tires. Hildebrand was set to pit from 5th two laps later, but was trapped on track when a full-course caution closed the pit lane just before he was set to enter. He did not have enough fuel to wait until the pits opened and had to enter the closed pit lane for a splash. He completed his full stop for the remaining fuel and tires when the pits opened on Lap 68. At the same time, the No. 20 crew took advantage of the first caution of the day to replace Pigot’s rear wing, which had been damaged during contact at the beginning of the race. Pigot would remain in 20th.

  • Because he took service in a closed pit, Hildebrand was forced to take the Lap 70 restart from the rear of the field. It was then discovered that the fuel probe had malfunctioned and Hildebrand had received less than half of the fuel he needed to make it to the end of the race. He was forced to pit again on Lap 71 to top off, but  remained in the 17th position as all cars behind him were laps down to the leader.
  • With his additional stop, Hildebrand re-entered the 2.258-mile course on his own and was able to simply run the race to completion. He would finish 17th, the position he dropped to after not being able to pit when needed. Pigot finished the race in 19th, one lap down to the leaders.
  • The Verizon IndyCar Series will now enjoy a short break before heading to Pocono Raceway for the ABC Supply 500 on August 20. Team owner Ed Carpenter will step back into the No. 20 and join Hildebrand on track at the “Tricky Triangle.” The race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 2 p.m. ET.


SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet), Finished 19th: “First of all, it was great to even make the start of the race. All of guys did an amazing job building up a spare car for me in just a few hours, so a huge thanks to them. As far as the race, we had some damage to the rear of the car at the start that really didn’t make it easy. Either way, I don’t think it was going to be our day. I’m frustrated with how it all went, but hopefully the 20 car guys can rebound in Pocono with Ed (Carpenter) and I’ll jump back in at Watkins Glen.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet), Finished 17th: “I’m just super frustrated and bummed for my Fuzzy’s Vodka guys! We started on blacks and were able to run long, then when we got on our first set of reds we were still running long and able to save fuel. I felt like I could have saved even more than I needed to! Everything was looking pretty good, then we sort of got hosed by our own success in a way. We had been saving fuel and were going longer than the cars around us; we basically got caught out by staying out too long. A yellow came out and we had to stop under a closed pit. Even just not making it in before that yellow would have put us all the way to the back of the lead lap anyway, but then, to add insult to injury, we had some sort of mechanical malfunction with the fuel probe and didn’t get all of the fuel in. We had to pit again under green and just cruised around on our own until the end. We can feel good about putting ourselves in a good spot and bouncing back from what was a pretty tough weekend all around. We’ve got a little bit of a break now, then we’ll see what we have in Pocono.”


Schmidt Peterson Racing Recaps Mid-Ohio

James Hinchcliffe
James Hinchcliffe
No. 5 Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
“Really disappointing day for us. We didn’t have the quickest car in traffic, so we put ourselves on a strategy to run in clean air, and it was working. We got ourselves to seventh place after that last round of stops, after being back in 12th after the first stint. Credit to the Arrow Electronics boys in the pits and the car – in clean air it was strong. But then we found ourselves, with that yellow, on the wrong tires, and I burned a lot of push-to-pass to get ourselves up there, so we were really just a sitting duck on that restart with wrong tires and no push-to-pass. It’s unfortunate that yellow [flag] fell, it really screwed our race. We were strong in certain conditions, we played our hand the best we could to put ourselves in a good spot and unfortunately the yellow just screwed us. We chalk it up to experience and move on to the next one.”

Mikhail Aleshin
Mikhail Aleshin
No. 7 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
“I think today was a good race for the Lucas Oil car. We had a good strategy and good pace, it’s just very difficult to overtake at this track. I think we had really good pace in the race, and that’s really what is so important. Next time we need to qualify a bit better, and we know what we need to do for that. The guys had really great pit stops and worked so well to put together what ended up being a good finish.”


Spencer Pigot Leads Ed Carpenter Racing’s Qualifying Efforts At Mid-Ohio

  • With qualifying complete at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Ed Carpenter Racing drivers Spencer Pigot and JR Hildebrand will now turn their focus to the Honda Indy 200. Pigot will start 16th in tomorrow afternoon’s 90-lap race while Hildebrand will start 19th.
  • Qualifying groups on road and street course events are based upon results from the third practice session, with cars having even-numbered results assigned to Group 1 while odd-numbered cars move to Group 2. Hildebrand, 20th in this morning’s practice, was in Group 1 while Pigot, 13th in the morning session was in Group 2.
  • Things were looking promising after Hildebrand’s first run in qualifying, as he began the session on a set of sticker red Firestone Firehawks tires while most competitors started on blacks. After three laps, he made a stop for another set of reds, hoping to improve on his lap times. He set his fastest time on his sixth of seven laps at 124.411 miles per hour. Though he was the fastest car during his first run, he fell to 10th by the end of the 10-minute session. Hildebrand will start 19th in tomorrow’s 90-lap race.
  • Pigot went with the same strategy, beginning Group 2 as the only car on sticker red tires. When he came in for his second set, he was sitting at the top of the timing sheet. Pigot’s seventh and final lap was his fastest with a speed of 125.797 miles per hour. He finished the session in 8th, giving him the 16th starting position. While his lap was not quick enough to advance him out of Group 2, he would have been fourth and moved on had he been in Group 1.

JR Hildebrand

  • Mid-Ohio is the home of Hildebrand’s very first Verizon IndyCar Series start. After winning the 2009 Indy Lights championship, Hildebrand’s Indy car debut came the following year on the 2.258-mile circuit. He took the checkered flag in his first race while competing for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, filling in for the injured Mike Conway.
  • Pigot, road and street course driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet, has competed every year at Mid-Ohio since 2010 while racing up through the Mazda Road to Indy. The 23-year-old entered the Verizon IndyCar Series last year after winning the 2015 Indy Light championship. The 2016 Honda Indy 200 was Pigot’s eighth Indy car race and only his fifth with Ed Carpenter Racing.
  • Including his debut, Hildebrand has three Indy car starts at Mid-Ohio. Most recently, he raced on the 13-turn natural-terrain road course in 2012, finishing 9th. Prior to the 2016 race, Hildebrand tested the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet while Josef Newgarden rested an injured hand. Hildebrand helped develop a set up for the car which Newgarden qualified third for last year’s race.
  • After starting 19th in the 2016 Honda Indy 200, Pigot used a combination of skill and strategy to finish 7th. Pigot made a pit stop four laps prior to the first caution, vaulting  into the Top 10 as other cars stopped under the yellow. He stayed there for the duration of the race, running as high as 5th.  His 7th place finish has held as the best of his 19 Verizon IndyCar Series starts. It is also Ed Carpenter Racing’s highest result at Mid-Ohio to date.
  • The Honda Indy 200 will air live on CNBC at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 30, followed by an encore on NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. ET.


SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet), Qualified 16th: “We knew going into qualifying that we were in a really had group. There’s so many good guys up and down pit lane. I feel like it was a pretty good lap on my part, we just ended up missing a little bit in the end. We closed the gap to the fastest cars yet again, but there were just a bunch of people super close as usual! We’ve been looking for a bit more front grip all weekend, we’ve been getting better and better but that’s one thing that if we can fix it, it will raise our speeds quite a bit. The Fuzzy’s Vodka car is really good though, especially on the longer runs, so we’re looking forward to racing tomorrow.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet), Qualified 19th: “The Fuzzy’s Vodka guys are doing a good job, the car doesn’t feel that bad. We just don’t seem to have a lot of speed in it. It’s frustrating because this is a track I really like and the team’s been good here in the past. We just can’t manage to get much better lap times out of it. It’s disappointing, but we’ll continue plugging away at it for the rest of the weekend.”