- After a productive offseason, Ed Carpenter Racing is ready for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to action this weekend with the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The No. 21 will have a familiar face behind the wheel as Spencer Pigot has transitioned to ECR’s full-time driver and will race a special black, red and white Autogeek Chevrolet. Newcomer Jordan King will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, sporting a new black, chrome, and silver scheme.
- The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is the home race for Pigot, who hails from nearby Orlando, Fla. The 1.8-mile street circuit is also home to Pigot’s Verizon IndyCar Series debut, which he made in 2016 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. In last year’s event with ECR, Pigot gained eight positions at a track notoriously difficult for passing before making his first pit stop from 5th place. When he entered the pit lane, an overheated rear brake assembly caught fire. While Pigot was able to re-enter the race following repairs, a promising result in the season opener was not to be as he had fallen 16 laps behind the leaders.
- After ascending the European motorsport ranks, King has joined ECR as road and street course driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. Since 2014, the No. 20 has been split between team owner Ed Carpenter on the ovals and a second driver for the road and street races. Pigot became the first driver to retain the No. 20’s road and street course seat for a second season when he drove the car in both 2016 and 2017. Pigot was promoted to the full-time driver of ECR’s No. 21 entry for the 2018 season, providing King with the opportunity to join Carpenter in the No. 20.
- Pigot immediately stepped into his new role at the close of last season as ECR was involved in an extensive off-season testing program with Chevrolet to prepare for 2018’s universal aero kit. In the month leading up to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, ECR has completed three separate tests. King became acquainted with his new Indy car in tests at Sonoma Raceway and Sebring International Raceway, while Carpenter climbed back in the No. 20 at ISM Raceway (formerly Phoenix International Raceway). Pigot also tested his No. 21 at all three venues.
- A true Indy car rookie, King will be making his first Verizon IndyCar Series start in the streets of St. Petersburg, just as Pigot did two years ago. King competed in Formula 2 (formerly GP2) for the past three seasons and served as a development driver for Manor F1 in 2015 and 2016. Though the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be King’s debut Indy car race, 24-year-old Brit brings years of experience from the world’s most famous grand prix circuits.
- The No. 21 of Pigot will carry the colors of car care superstore Autogeek.com for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. After a successful first year of partnership with ECR, Autogeek expanded their relationship with the Indianapolis-based race team to include the primary sponsorship for the 2018 season-opening event. Over the last 15 years, Autogeek has risen to become one of the most reputable and trusted sources for automotive detailing products and accessories and provides a wealth of car care know-how for detailers, hobbyists and car care enthusiasts.
- Practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will take place on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10, followed by qualifications on Saturday afternoon. The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series will officially begin at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 11 at the drop of the green flag for the 110-lap race. The race will be broadcast live on ABC.
JORDAN KING, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet: “I am really excited for my first race weekend in the Verizon IndyCar Series. There has been so much build up and anticipation, I’m interested in seeing the whole picture come together. The team have done some really good work over the winter. I’m feeling positive going into the weekend but with an open mind on my expectations. Hopefully, we can have a good weekend and take a decent result in my first race in the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy!”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet: “I’m really looking forward to getting back to racing again this weekend. St. Pete is always one of the best events of the year and for me, it’s the closest race to where I grew up in Orlando. It’s nice to kick off the season where I have lots of family and friends that come to support me! It’s my first race weekend as a full time Verizon IndyCar Series driver which is pretty exciting, I am in a position where I’ve always wanted to be. Hopefully, we can have a good weekend in front of our new partners at Autogeek.com and get our season kicked off with a strong result.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!