- Ed Carpenter Racing is familiar with success in the streets of Toronto, winning back-to-back races in 2014 and 2015. The team’s first 1-2 finish occurred at the conclusion of the 2015 Honda Indy Toronto, when Josef Newgarden held off teammate Luca Filippi to take the win. Mike Conway scored the victory in 2014 for ECR. This weekend, the ECR duo of JR Hildebrand and Spencer Pigot hope to replicate that success as the Verizon IndyCar Series heads to Canada for the only international stop on the 2017 calendar.
- Hildebrand has momentum on his side as he is coming off not only his highest finish of 2017, but also one of the best results of his Verizon IndyCar Series career. His 2nd place at Iowa Speedway last Sunday evening topped his previous high result of this year, a 3rd at Phoenix International Raceway in late April. His second podium of 2017 also matched his career best finish in Indy car competition. He also finished second in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 his rookie year.
- Despite a string of unfortunate circumstances, Pigot has three Top 10 finishes in seven starts with ECR this year. While running 5th in St. Petersburg, a brake rotor ignited; a misfire of the engine following a pit stop in the INDYCAR Grand Prix dropped him from 6th; and he he was unable to complete the second race of the Detroit Grand Prix after his engine lost power. In his most recent race at Road America, Pigot had climbed from his starting position of 14th up to 8th before an issue with the front suspension forced him to make two lengthy pit stops for repairs. Nevertheless, Pigot passed five cars in the final seven laps and worked his way back up to 12th. Pigot has executed 49 passes during the road and street course races this year.
- The No. 21 of Hildebrand will return to the familiar white and blue Preferred Freezer Services colors for the Honda Indy Toronto. Hildebrand previously raced the livery this year at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the INDYCAR Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. 2017 marks the fourth consecutive year that the partnership between Preferred Freezer Services (PFS) and ECR has grown to include additional events. PFS, a global leader in advanced design and engineered temperature-controlled warehouses, first teamed up with ECR to field a car for Hildebrand in the 2014 Indianapolis 500.
- Pigot, road and street course driver for the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet, has also enjoyed success in Toronto. He won both races of the 2015 Indy Lights doubleheader in the Canadian city, leading flag-to-flag in the second event. The victories were two of the six he collected on his march towards capturing the 2015 Indy Lights championship. The 2016 Honda Indy Toronto was only Pigot’s seventh Verizon IndyCar Series start. While running 5th in last year’s race, Pigot had to make a late-race, unscheduled pit stop after his tires were flat-spotted under braking. He finished 19th.
- In his two previous starts in the streets of Toronto, Hildebrand scored Top 10 finishes in both. Hildebrand finished 8th in 2011, his rookie season, then followed it up with a 7th place the next year. The track configuration has changed since Hildebrand last raced in Toronto in 2012, now featuring 11 turns over a 1.75-mile street circuit.
- All practice Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions in the streets of Toronto will be streamed live on IndyCar.com. Qualifications may also be watched live via the online stream on Saturday, July 15, then later on a tape-delayed broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. ET. Live NBC Sports Network coverage of the 85-lap Honda Indy Toronto will begin at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 16.
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet): “Toronto is always a great event. I really enjoy both the city and the track! It’s one of the most challenging street courses we go to. It’s very unique in the amount of surface changes we encounter during a lap. In some cases, you can drive over three different surfaces in one corner so it’s difficult to find a setup that is compliant around the entire circuit. Ed Carpenter Racing and I have both had success there in the past so hopefully we can have a good weekend together in our Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy.
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet): “I am looking forward to going back to Toronto. After a good weekend in Iowa, we hope to continue to build that momentum through the second half of the season. I felt like we figured a few things out at the last street course race in Detroit that will hopefully translate to a solid weekend in Toronto!”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!