- The next time Ed Carpenter and JR Hildebrand take to the 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they will be participating in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. For Carpenter, it will be his 14th run at The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Hildebrand will compete in the 500-mile classic for the 7th time.
- Carpenter will start from the front row for the third time in the past five years. The 2013 and 2014 pole winner qualified 2nd for the 2017 edition of the race. He has competed in every Indianapolis 500 since 2004 with a best finish of 5th in 2008. Carpenter is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2016 race when an electrical issue sidelined him one lap before the midway point.
- 2017 is Hildebrand’s first full-time season with Ed Carpenter Racing, though he has joined the team for each Month of May since 2014. Each of his Indianapolis 500 appearances with ECR have resulted in Top 10 finishes, including finishing 6th after leading the race last year. He was named the 2011 Rookie of the Year following a 2nd place finish.
- Carpenter turned 378 laps of practice this month. He was the 3rd-fastest driver on opening day of practice on Monday, May 15 and the quickest on Wednesday, May 17. He had the fastest four-lap average on Saturday’s first day of qualifications in his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet, securing him a shot in the Fast Nine Shootout and a chance at his third pole position. Carpenter, 36, was the final car to qualify on Sunday and his four-lap average of 231.664 was good enough for a starting position in the middle of the front row.
- Over the eight days of Indianapolis 500 practice, Hildebrand ran over twice the race distance, logging 1057.5 miles (423 laps) in his No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet. Sunday’s 500 mile race will consist of 200 laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On Wednesday the 17th, Hildebrand was the 2nd fastest driver of the day behind team owner and teammate Carpenter. The 29-year-old’s qualifying performance on Saturday also landed him a spot in the Fast Nine Shootout. Hildebrand earned the best starting position of his Indianapolis 500 career and will roll off 6th on Sunday.
- Ed Carpenter Racing has had a car start in the front row of the Indianapolis 500 four out of the past five years. Josef Newgarden started from the 2nd position in 2016 before finishing 3rd, the best Indianapolis 500 finish in ECR’s history.
- Carpenter and Hildebrand have been teammates in the Indianapolis 500 for four years, competing alongside each other since 2014. 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 in 2017 as Carpenter, a hometown favorite, is an Indianapolis native. Hildebrand hails from Sausalito, Calif. and now resides in Boulder, Colo.
- The 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 will be aired live on ABC, beginning at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 28. The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network will also carry the race on Sirius 212, 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.
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet), Starting 2nd: “It was a typical Carb Day for us, it’s a one hour session so it’s hard to get much done. It’s easier to mess things up more than anything, but I still feel good about the car. There are always things here or there that could be better. After Monday’s practice, I felt like we were race ready and I still feel that way. We just need things to fall our way and be the type of race we need it to be to have a successful day come Sunday.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet), Starting 6th: “Today, we are trying to make some little improvements on what you already have. With a whole week of practice and then a few days off, there are always going to be things that linger and you think about the things that could be a little different. Carb Day is the final chance to feel out how you feel about where you stack up with the cars you think will be around. It was hectic and crazy how it usually is, but we feel pretty good and we are looking forward to race day, where we know anything can happen then.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!