- Luck was not on Ed Carpenter Racing’s side today as JR Hildebrand and Spencer Pigot left the Honda Indy Toronto with disappointing results. Hildebrand finished 13th while Pigot took the checkered flag in 18th after both were caught out by an unfortunate yellow flag.
- For the first time in 2017, Hildebrand advanced to Round 2 of qualifications. He started today’s race in 12th, his highest street course starting position of the year. Pigot qualified 13th, matching his career-best effort. He also started 13th in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
- Pigot was the only car to start the race on the primary black Firestone Firehawks, a call that proved correct as he began to carve his way through the field. He immediately showed the speed he has become known for this season, picking off seven cars in the first 15 green flag laps. The No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet was up to 4th after two cars in front of Pigot made their first stops prior to the second full-course caution.
- Hildebrand spent the morning warm-up session working on hitting fuel milage numbers and continued that craft in the race. He was consistently saving enough fuel to be on a solid two-stop strategy when he too was caught out by the caution flag. Even with saving fuel, he was able to maintain his position and was running 12th.
- Several cars had already made their first stops with the second full course caution came out on Lap 23. Pigot and Hildebrand, however, had not yet stopped. While the cars who had pitted cycled to the front of the field, Pigot was mired back in 17th while Hildebrand was 19th after their stops.
- The bad luck did not stop there for Pigot. On the restart, Takuma Sato hit Pigot’s left rear and cut the tire. Pigot had to make another pit stop, dropping him over 30 seconds behind the leaders. Though he was making up several seconds a lap, he had to make another stop Lap 44 for new tires. He was able to maintain a consistent pace, often faster than the leaders, but was not able to gain any additional positions after going one lap down. He finished 18th, one lap behind the leaders.
- The remainder of Hildebrand’s race was clean. He made his final pit stop on Lap 55 and cycled into the 13th position. Despite having to make it 30 laps, he maintained his position and brought the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet home in the 13th position.
- The Verizon IndyCar Series will race next at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 30. The live broadcast will air on CNBC at 3 p.m. ET, followed by an encore on NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. ET.
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet), Finished 18th: “The race started off really well. It was tough initially to keep everyone behind me when we were on black and everyone else was on reds at the start. It kind of came to us and we were able to pass a lot of guys and work our way up to fourth or fifth by the end of the first stint. The yellow was going to be bad timing for us anyway, but after that restart I had some contact with Sato. His wing cut my left rear tire. We had to make a stop for that and that put us in the back for the rest of the race. We never caught another yellow to make up for it. Another promising race that went the wrong way for us. Overall, I’m really happy with everything the Fuzzy’s Vodka guys did, a big thanks to them!”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet), Finished 13th: “I thought we were looking good to save fuel and go long on that first stint if we didn’t get hit with that first yellow. At that point, we were just stuck in the back saving fuel for the rest of the race. A bummer because we definitely made some progress this weekend, had a much better start and we were looking on the racy side. We’ll have to wait for the next one.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!