- The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season will conclude this Sunday with 85 laps around Sonoma Raceway. For Ed Carpenter Racing’s pair of 24-year-old drivers, the Grand Prix of Sonoma will provide an opportunity to finish their already solid race seasons on a high note. Spencer Pigot and Jordan King began the year with a preseason test at Sonoma Raceway and will return this weekend for the 2018 season finale.
- The Grand Prix of Sonoma will be King’s 11th Verizon IndyCar Series start and will mark the end of his rookie campaign. Before joining Ed Carpenter Racing at the beginning of the year, King ascended the European open-wheel ranks. His first time in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet came at Sonoma Raceway in early February, mere weeks after the Brit moved to Indianapolis to be near the team. Sonoma will be only the third track where King will have had a full day of testing prior to the official race weekend.
- Pigot will conclude his first full-time season of Indy car racing at Sonoma Raceway. He served as road and street course driver of the No. 20 in 2016 and 2017, then was elevated to ECR’s full-time entry, the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, for 2018. In last year’s Grand Prix of Sonoma, Pigot had to pit for a new front wing after contact with another competitor on the opening lap. He fell to the rear of the field after the unscheduled stop but made his way back up to 13th by the end of the race.
- Pigot and King most recently competed in the Grand Prix of Portland, the Verizon IndyCar Series’s successful return to the Pacific Northwest. King had raced his way to the front of the field and looked to be in contention for his first podium finish before an untimely yellow flipped the field. King fell from 3rd to 15th while Pigot, on a different pit stop strategy, remained at the front. Pigot would pass championship points leader Scott Dixon for the 4th position in the closing stages, giving Pigot his second-best finish of the year and his Indy car career.
- In King’s 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.
- Pigot’s fourth place at Portland 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 of the field to finish 2nd. 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 Nine 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, the road course of Road America and the oval of Gateway Motorsports Park.
- NBC Sports Network will broadcast on-track activity at Sonoma Raceway, including a re-air of the first practice session on Friday, September 14 at 4 p.m. ET and the second practice session on 6 p.m. ET. Saturday, September 15 will feature qualifying at 6 p.m. ET. The 2018 season will conclude on Sunday, September 16 with the championship-deciding Grand Prix of Sonoma, beginning live on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET.
JORDAN KING (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “My first time in an Indy car was at Sonoma Raceway, so I am ready to go back to see my progress and what I can do after a year in the car! We were pretty strong at Sonoma in pre-season testing and we’ve made good progress throughout the year, so I am looking forward to seeing the comparison.”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “Going to Sonoma Raceway is always a little bittersweet because it’s such a great area and track, but it’s the last time we get to race this year which is a shame! It’s a very difficult track to manage outright speed and tire degradation so we will need to develop a plan very quickly once we start practice. We’ve had some really good races recently; hopefully, we can have one more and end the season on a high note for the Fuzzy’s Vodka team!”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!