The 2017 IndyCar season is about to take the green flag with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Ed Carpenter Racing is prepared to “let the big dog eat” this weekend.
- Verizon IndyCar Series team Ed Carpenter Racing will head south to the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. for the opening round of the 2017 season this weekend. ECR will run twin Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolets in Sunday’s 110-lap race, the No. 20 of Spencer Pigot and the No. 21 of JR Hildebrand.
- Both Hildebrand and Pigot have previously competed in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Hildebrand has raced on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit three times (2011, 2012, and 2013), with a best finish of 11th in 2011. Pigot, from nearby Orlando, Fla., made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut on the Streets of St. Petersburg last year. He climbed seven spots from his qualifying position to finish 14th.
- Though Hildebrand was named as the new driver of the No. 21 car for the 2017 season, he is not new to ECR. Hildebrand has been a fixture with the Speedway, Ind.-based team since 2014, earning a Top 10 for ECR in the Indianapolis 500 each year. The 29-year-old also competed in the 2015 and 2016 Grand Prix of Indianapolis and completed extensive testing in the No. 21 during the summer of 2016. He has 46 career Indy car starts to his name, including full-time seasons in 2011 and 2012.
- Pigot, 23, is the first driver to be named to the No. 20’s road and street course seat for a second year. Since 2014, the No. 20 has been split between team owner Ed Carpenter on the ovals and a second driver for the road and street races. The 2015 Indy Lights champion joined ECR prior to the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix last season, earning two Top 10 finishes in his first five races with the team.
- In the month leading up to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, ECR completed three separate tests. Carpenter set the second fastest lap of the Phoenix International Raceway open test in the No. 20, bested only by Hildebrand with the fastest lap of the weekend. Hildebrand, from Sausalito, Calif., also tested at his home track of Sonoma Raceway and Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Pigot stepped back into the No. 20 and tested alongside Hildebrand at both venues.
- The 2017 season will kick off with two practice sessions on Friday, March 11. Live coverage of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will begin at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 13 on ABC.
About Ed Carpenter Racing
Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) first entered the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2012. The team is led by IndyCar’s only owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, winner of back-to-back pole positions for the Indianapolis 500 in 2013 and 2014. ECR amassed seven victories and over 20 top five finishes in its first five years. In 2017, Carpenter will compete in all oval events in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet while Spencer Pigot will take over at road and street course races. JR Hildebrand will compete for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship as he races the No. 21 Chevrolet throughout the entire season. More information on Ed Carpenter Racing may be found at www.edcarpenterracing.com.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!