SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 19, 2018) – Bump Day Qualifying Notes
- On May 27, three of the top nine starting positions in the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 will be filled by Ed Carpenter Racing’s Chevrolets. Team owner Ed Carpenter, full-time driver Spencer Pigot, and one of the most successful female racing drivers in history, Danica Patrick, were amongst the nine fastest qualifiers today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As such, each secured themselves the opportunity to make a run for the coveted first starting spot in tomorrow’s Pole Day qualifications. None will start lower than ninth.
- Pigot was the first of ECR’s three cars to make a qualification attempt after last night’s blind draw set the qualification order. Pigot was only the fifth car to take to the 2.5-mile oval. Pigot’s laps of 228.231, 228.288, 228.069 and 227.621 gave the 24-year-old a four-lap average of 228.052 miles per hour. At the end of the day, the speed of his No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet was the sixth-fastest of the day, giving him his first opportunity to take a shot at an Indianapolis 500 pole position.
- With only a handful of cars separating Patrick from her qualification attempt, rains came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A lengthy delay ensued while precipitation moved out of the area and the track was dried. When she was able to take No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet, her laps of 228.031, 227.597, 227.545 and 227.269 gave her a solid four-lap average of 227.610 miles per hour. Patrick was sitting eighth after all 35 cars had made their attempt. A run by Scott Dixon dropped her to ninth; the second-to-last run of the day by Alexander Rossi briefly bumped her out of the Fast Nine but was not enough in the end. Patrick ended the day as the ninth-fastest qualifier and will participate in her first Fast Nine Shootout tomorrow.
- Another rain delay came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while Carpenter’s No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet sat in the qualifying line. The track was dried once again, then Carpenter was the 35th of 35 cars to make a qualification attempt. Despite clear skies and hot sunshine across the track, Carpenter put a remarkable four-lap run together. A blistering first lap of 229.266 was followed 228.909, 228.686 and 227.913. His four-lap average of 228.693 miles per hour was the second-fastest of the day.
- Times from today are erased going into tomorrow’s qualifications. Drivers in the Fast Nine Shootout must make one four-lap attempt, in order based on slowest to fastest from today’s qualifying time. Patrick will be first out, Pigot will hit the track 4th, and Carpenter will be the second-to-last car to make a run at the 2018 Indy 500 pole position. The Fast Nine Shootout will take place from 5-5:45 p.m. ET.
- Ed Carpenter Racing earned the nickname “Team America” in 2015 when ECR was the only multi-car team with an all-American driver line up in the Indianapolis 500. The trend continues through 2018 as Team America’s Indy 500 roster features Pigot (Orlando, Fla.), Patrick (Roscoe, Ill.) and hometown favorite, Carpenter (Indianapolis).
- Carpenter has qualified for his 15th Indianapolis 500. He is a back-to-back pole winner for the Indianapolis 500, capturing the coveted first starting position in both 2013 and 2014. He earned the team’s fourth front row start in five years when he qualified second in 2017. Carpenter managed an 11th place finish in last year’s race despite contact that required an additional pit stop to change a front wing.
- Patrick announced her intentions to finish her racing career by competing in two final 500-mile races. Dubbed the “Danica Double,” she participated in the 2018 Daytona 500 in February and is now in the field for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 with ECR. The 500-mile classic will also mark her return to the Verizon IndyCar Series, where she scored 63 top-10 finishes over a seven-year career before transitioning to stock car racing in 2012. Driving the lucky No. 13, Patrick’s final Indianapolis 500 will take place 13 years after her 2005 debut where she was awarded Rookie of the Year honors.
- After two seasons as road and street course driver of ECR’s No. 20, Pigot has been elevated to the season-long driver of ECR’s No. 21 for the 2018 season. After winning the Indy Lights championship in 2015, Pigot’s rookie Indianapolis 500 was contested with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2016 as part of a three-race scholarship. As ECR only entered two cars in 2017, Pigot joined Juncos Racing for last year’s race. This year’s 102nd Running will mark his third shot at the Borg-Warner Trophy and his first attempt with ECR.
- The starting order of the field will be determined in Sunday qualifying, which streams on WatchESPN from 2:30-4 p.m. before ABC picks up the dramatic end from 4-6 p.m.The 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 airs live at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 27 on ABC.
DANICA PATRICK, No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet: “Every year is a little different. I remember 13 years ago my first time, similar conditions (to today) early it was overcast and cooler and having to save it in (Turn) 1. I remember that and then I remember years where the car was very neutral the whole way around the track and looking at the steering trace afterward and my heart rate is still not down to times you go out there and it just won’t go fast enough. That gets your heart rate going in a different way. That’s the thing about Indy. It’s unpredictable. It ebbs and flows here. You can go out one day and you’re good and you go out the next day, try some things and wonder how you lost your way. You have to respect that process about Indy that it comes and goes. I am very happy with this car. I am comfortable, (Ed Carpenter Racing) has made me comfortable. We got off on a path that didn’t go very well for a while. The good thing is you come back to it and the car is there. I wish I would have been able to qualify before the rains came. The conditions were probably a little more ideal.”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet: “It was a really good day obviously for the team to have all three ECR cars in the Fast Nine. It just shows how much hard work and effort has gone into our program. I’m really happy for all the guys and girls on our team, specifically everyone on the Preferred Freezer car. I’ll look over everything tonight to see just how aggressive we can be, and hopefully, be towards the front of the top nine.”
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet: “It is so stressful qualifying for this race, especially on days like today when you’re just sitting around, waiting to see what’s going to happen. I was finally happy to get out there, but the conditions were a bit harder. I’m really happy with the speed in the car, especially in this time of day because it wasn’t ideal. Weather permitting, we will be able to go out and have some fun tomorrow. It’s cool to have me, Spencer, and Danica in the Fast Nine. That’s awesome for Ed Carpenter Racing, Fuzzy’s Vodka, Preferred Freezer Services, and GoDaddy. We were really happy to put Danica in a great position for her final ride and be a part of that history. If all three cars have a chance for the pole tomorrow, it is truly a testament to the team and how hard they work, how dedicated they are, and what a good group we have. It really is a team effort to have three cars that are as close in performance as we are. When you look across the paddock and how hard it is in this field, not all teams can do that; it’s a true testament to our team.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!