- With qualifying complete at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Ed Carpenter Racing drivers Spencer Pigot and JR Hildebrand will now turn their focus to the Honda Indy 200. Pigot will start 16th in tomorrow afternoon’s 90-lap race while Hildebrand will start 19th.
- Qualifying groups on road and street course events are based upon results from the third practice session, with cars having even-numbered results assigned to Group 1 while odd-numbered cars move to Group 2. Hildebrand, 20th in this morning’s practice, was in Group 1 while Pigot, 13th in the morning session was in Group 2.
- Things were looking promising after Hildebrand’s first run in qualifying, as he began the session on a set of sticker red Firestone Firehawks tires while most competitors started on blacks. After three laps, he made a stop for another set of reds, hoping to improve on his lap times. He set his fastest time on his sixth of seven laps at 124.411 miles per hour. Though he was the fastest car during his first run, he fell to 10th by the end of the 10-minute session. Hildebrand will start 19th in tomorrow’s 90-lap race.
- Pigot went with the same strategy, beginning Group 2 as the only car on sticker red tires. When he came in for his second set, he was sitting at the top of the timing sheet. Pigot’s seventh and final lap was his fastest with a speed of 125.797 miles per hour. He finished the session in 8th, giving him the 16th starting position. While his lap was not quick enough to advance him out of Group 2, he would have been fourth and moved on had he been in Group 1.
- Mid-Ohio is the home of Hildebrand’s very first Verizon IndyCar Series start. After winning the 2009 Indy Lights championship, Hildebrand’s Indy car debut came the following year on the 2.258-mile circuit. He took the checkered flag in his first race while competing for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, filling in for the injured Mike Conway.
Pigot, road and street course driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet, has competed every year at Mid-Ohio since 2010 while racing up through the Mazda Road to Indy. The 23-year-old entered the Verizon IndyCar Series last year after winning the 2015 Indy Light championship. The 2016 Honda Indy 200 was Pigot’s eighth Indy car race and only his fifth with Ed Carpenter Racing.
- Including his debut, Hildebrand has three Indy car starts at Mid-Ohio. Most recently, he raced on the 13-turn natural-terrain road course in 2012, finishing 9th. Prior to the 2016 race, Hildebrand tested the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet while Josef Newgarden rested an injured hand. Hildebrand helped develop a set up for the car which Newgarden qualified third for last year’s race.
- After starting 19th in the 2016 Honda Indy 200, Pigot used a combination of skill and strategy to finish 7th. Pigot made a pit stop four laps prior to the first caution, vaulting into the Top 10 as other cars stopped under the yellow. He stayed there for the duration of the race, running as high as 5th. His 7th place finish has held as the best of his 19 Verizon IndyCar Series starts. It is also Ed Carpenter Racing’s highest result at Mid-Ohio to date.
- The Honda Indy 200 will air live on CNBC at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 30, followed by an encore on NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. ET.
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet), Qualified 16th: “We knew going into qualifying that we were in a really had group. There’s so many good guys up and down pit lane. I feel like it was a pretty good lap on my part, we just ended up missing a little bit in the end. We closed the gap to the fastest cars yet again, but there were just a bunch of people super close as usual! We’ve been looking for a bit more front grip all weekend, we’ve been getting better and better but that’s one thing that if we can fix it, it will raise our speeds quite a bit. The Fuzzy’s Vodka car is really good though, especially on the longer runs, so we’re looking forward to racing tomorrow.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet), Qualified 19th: “The Fuzzy’s Vodka guys are doing a good job, the car doesn’t feel that bad. We just don’t seem to have a lot of speed in it. It’s frustrating because this is a track I really like and the team’s been good here in the past. We just can’t manage to get much better lap times out of it. It’s disappointing, but we’ll continue plugging away at it for the rest of the weekend.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!