- For the first time in Ed Carpenter Racing’s history, the team will compete in the Pacific Northwest as Indy car racing returns to Portland International Raceway. Indy car events held under the Championship Auto Racing Teams and Champ Car World Series banners took place at Portland International Raceway continuously from 1984 to 2007; Ed Carpenter Racing entered the Verizon IndyCar Series prior to the 2012 season. Spencer Pigot and Jordan King will compete in the penultimate race of the 2018 season in a pair of Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolets.
- The Grand Prix of Portland will be the third in a string of three back-to-back races as the 2018 season winds down on a cross-country swing. Two weeks ago, the Verizon IndyCar Series competed at the 2.5-mile triangular oval at Pocono Raceway. In the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, oval driver and team owner Ed Carpenter secured a Top 10 finish in his 175th race. Pigot was hit from behind by another competitor prior to the green flag, but after repairs were made to the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, he was able to re-enter the race and earned a 16th place finish.
- Last weekend, Ed Carpenter Racing competed at Gateway Motorsports Park. Despite never having raced at the 1.25-mile oval, Pigot battled his way through the field to earn a 6th place finish in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. On a four-stop strategy that favored the race staying green, Carpenter was caught one lap down to the leaders when the second and last yellow flag of the night flew. His final pit stop would drop him to 16th but he persevered and continued to make his way back forward. With only ten laps remaining, he completed a pass that gave him the 12th finishing position.
- As the Bommarito 500 was the last oval race of the year, Carpenter has handed the No. 20 over to road and street course driver King for the final two races of the season. It will be King’s first time in the car since racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at the end of July. Though neither King or Pigot have driven on Portland’s 12-turn, 1.964-mile natural road course, both will participate in Thursday’s open test and will be able to familiarize themselves with the track.
- The Grand Prix of Portland will be King’s 10th Verizon IndyCar Series start. A rookie this season, King ascended the European open-wheel ranks before joining Ed Carpenter Racing. In his Indy car debut, the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix in St. Petersburg, Fla., he set the track record in qualifying, made the Firestone Fast 6 and took the lead of the race on only the fifth lap. He also paced the field during the only international stop on the 2018 calendar, the Honda Indy Toronto. King has advanced out of the first round of qualifications in half of the possible races this year. He made his second Firestone Fast 6 appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during qualifications for the INDYCAR Grand Prix. Portland will be only the second track this year where King will have had a full day of testing prior to the official race weekend.
- Pigot’s sixth place Saturday night at Gateway is bested only by his performance at Iowa Speedway in July. Though he qualified 18th and fell a lap down to the leaders early in the 300-lap race, he raced to the front to finish second. It was the 24-year-old’s highest result of his career to date and his first podium in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He also put forth the best qualifying effort of his career this year, making the Fast 9 Shootout and starting 6th in the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. He paced the field at Indianapolis and Toronto and earned additional Top 10 finishes at the street circuit in Detroit and the road course of Road America.
- After Thursday’s test session, official on-track activity will get underway on Friday, August 31 with two practice sessions. Saturday, September 1 will feature a third practice session as well as qualifying, which will be aired on NBC Sports Network later that day at 7:30 p.m. ET. The 105-lap Grand Prix of Portland will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 2.
JORDAN KING (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “Portland on the simulator seemed pretty cool, we won’t really get a gauge for how it is until we get there but it seems like it will be good fun and quite fast! It’s a new challenge for everyone because no one has been there for a long time. Hopefully, that levels the playing field a little bit! I am very much looking forward to getting back in the car and trying to win a couple of races.”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “Portland is a race I’ve been looking forward to all year! I’ve heard great things about the track and the city, so I’m looking forward to heading out there for the first time. We’re coming off a solid race at Gateway, hopefully, we can keep the momentum going for the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka team and finish the season off strong!”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!