- Ed Carpenter Racing’s string of success on short ovals did not continue through the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. Though JR Hildebrand scored podium finishes at the first two short oval races of the year and Ed Carpenter recorded his best finish of the season at a short oval, neither Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet made it to the conclusion of tonight’s 248-lap race.
- Hopes were high after Carpenter turned in one of his best qualifying efforts of the season at Gateway Motorsports Park, earning the 5th starting position behind the four Team Penske Chevrolets. Hildebrand started 15th in a race that began under a yellow flag. During the pace laps, Tony Kanaan spun while warming his tires and laps began to record as clean up from the accident took place.
- The first green flag lap was Lap 5. After pole sitter Will Power was passed by eventual race winner Josef Newgarden, Power’s car swapped ends and headed for the Turn 2 wall. Takuma Sato and Carpenter both went for the bottom of the track to avoid the accident. The two touched, spinning both cars and sending Carpenter up and over the top of Power. Both drivers were checked, cleared and released from the infield care center. As Carpenter competes exclusively in the oval events, his 21st place result marked the conclusion of the team owner’s 2017 season.
- Hildebrand worked his way into the Top 10 with help from a quick first pit stop by his Fuzzy’s Vodka crew. Unfortunately, when the next caution came out on Lap 102, the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet was the car that was out of the race. Hildebrand suddenly lost the ability to steer the car and made heavy right-side contact with the Turn 4 wall. He was also checked, cleared and released from the medical center and was credited with an 18th place finish.
- Ed Carpenter Racing will return to the track next week at Watkins Glen International for the third of three race weeks in a row. Road and street course driver Spencer Pigot will step back into the No. 20 and race for ECR alongside Hildebrand. Watkins Glen is the penultimate race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network at 1:30 p.m. ET next Sunday, September 3.
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet), Finished 21st: “It was slick, even warming up the tires. It may have been the combination of tires that had run before us. We ran a little bit after Indy Lights, but just for the pit stop practice so it wasn’t a lot. Even with the tires warmed up it was hard, but that’s no excuse. I saw Will (Power) get loose in front of (Takuma) Sato. I was under Sato, he was sliding around. I finally got loose like those guys were. I corrected and went under Sato, but once we made contact, it sent me around. I’m just super disappointed. I have such a chance to get a good result tonight in front of tons of family and friends from Indianapolis. 2018 can’t come fast enough. I’m thankful that Fuzzy’s Vodka is behind us so much to give us an opportunity to come back and be even better next year. But man, it is disheartening right now. It’s going to be a long off season to get this taste out of my mouth.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet), Finished 18th: “All of a sudden, we had no steering and were going straight. I feel like something must have broke or we had some sort of an issue. Hopefully, for the sake of everyone else, we can isolate it on our side just for the certainty of the race That’s about all I have to say! We were having a pretty good run. It is just a bummer to have both of the Fuzzy’s Vodka cars out of the race so early.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!