- Ed Carpenter Racing will enter Iowa Speedway this weekend as the defending race winning team, returning with the goal of making it two in a row in Newton, Iowa. After a commanding victory in 2016 and a successful test at the .875-mile oval last week, drivers Ed Carpenter and JR Hildebrand are hopeful for a repeat of the team’s result from last year.
- In a dominating performance, Josef Newgarden made it look easy as he secured the win for Ed Carpenter Racing in the 2016 Iowa Corn 300. Newgarden led 282 of the 300 laps, taking the lead on Lap 1 and relinquishing it only for green flag pit stops. It was ECR’s seventh victory since being formed only five years prior.
- One week ahead of last year’s race, Hildebrand tested the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet at Iowa Speedway for Newgarden. Hildebrand’s assistance allowed Newgarden extra time to recover from injuries sustained in a crash at Texas Motor Speedway less than a month before. Stepping back into the No. 21 for the race weekend, Newgarden cruised to his first oval track win after utilizing a set up refined by Hildebrand during the test.
- Team owner Carpenter qualified 7th for last year’s Iowa Corn 300. He was comfortably running in the same position when he was unable to get the car into gear following a routine pit stop on Lap 119. The No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka crew changed the entire gear stack and Carpenter was able to continue, but was relegated to an 18th place finish.
- Carpenter has competed in all but one Verizon IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway, with nine total starts to date. Four of Carpenter’s last five races at Iowa Speedway have concluded in Top 10 finishes, the exception a consequence of last year’s gear stack change. His highest result occurred in 2013, when he finished 4th after qualifying in the same position.
- Hildebrand has only competed at Iowa Speedway twice in an Indy car, most recently in 2012. Hildebrand’s best start and finish at Iowa is also 4th, his results from 2011. In addition to running on the tri-oval in last year’s test, Hildebrand also turned laps alongside Carpenter during a team test last week on Tuesday, June 27.
- While road and street course driver Spencer Pigot competed with Hildebrand for ECR in the latest event at Road America, Carpenter’s most recent race was at Texas Motor Speedway on June 10. Both Carpenter and Hildebrand were collected in a seven-car accident on Lap 152 of 248. With neither car damaged beyond repair, the No. 20 and No. 21 crews worked feverishly to fix both Chevrolets. Because of the attrition on track, by resuming the race Carpenter earned an 11th place result while Hildebrand finished 12th.
- This season, Hildebrand’s best finish to date occurred late April at the first short oval race of the year. He was a part of a podium celebration for the first time in his Verizon IndyCar Series career with his third place finish at Phoenix Raceway. During the same event, Carpenter gained more positions than any other driver in the field, finishing 7th after starting 21st.
- NBC Sports Network will carry coverage of the 2017 Iowa Corn 300. Qualifying will be air live from 3-4:30 pm ET on Saturday, July 8. The race will also be broadcast live, beginning at 5 pm ET on Sunday, July 9.
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet): “I am always excited to race at Iowa Speedway and be a part of the Iowa Corn 300! It has been a track where I have always been comfortable and enjoyed racing. It is an important race for us as we won the race as a team last year and we hope to repeat that feat in front of our Fuzzy’s Vodka fans!”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet): “I am really looking forward to getting back to Iowa Speedway where we expect to have a strong weekend. I’ve always enjoyed it there and feel like I have a pretty good handle on it, so I’m very ready to get on track and get to work with the Fuzzy’s Vodka 21 car guys.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!