ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 10, 2019) – Race Notes
- After an off-season full of preparation, Ed Carpenter Racing was more than ready for today’s season opener. The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series began with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the picturesque street course alongside Tampa Bay. Spencer Pigot overcame a difficult qualifying session and a grueling first half of the race to bring home an 11th place finish. Ed Jones, in his first race with ECR, recorded a 21st place result after contact with the wall ended his day just 26 laps in.
- A frustrating qualifying session yesterday afternoon had the ECR teammates starting side-by-side in Row 8. Red flags kept Jones from turning a lap at speed during his group, causing him to start 15th. The balance of Pigot’s car was off during his run, resulting in a 16th place starting position for him.
- The entire field elected to start the race on the alternate red Firestone Firehawks, including Jones and Pigot. Though the opening lap of the 110-lap race was clean, Pigot was caught behind a slower car and was not able to gain any positions. On the other side of the coin, Jones was able to avoid the slower car and gained three positions in the first lap.
- Jones had raced his way up to 9th and had his sights set on the next position. On Lap 26, he brushed the inside wall in Turn 9, which resulted in the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet being sent nose-first into the outside wall. The car sustained heavy damage to the left side, then the right-rear corner was hit by another competitor coming out of the turn. Jones would be credited with a 21st place finish.
- Pigot struggled with grip for the majority of the first half of the race. After the midpoint, the No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet came to him and he was able to begin making up positions. Though he had fallen as far back as 20th, he made his way up to the 12th position following his final pit stop. In the closing laps of the race, Graham Rahal had to pit which handed the 11th position to Pigot. Despite the difficulties he faced throughout the race, today’s finish was his best at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
- Ed Carpenter Racing will head straight from the streets of St. Petersburg to the high-speed oval of Texas Motor Speedway. Pigot will test the No. 21 on Thursday alongside Carpenter, who will be back in the No. 20 for the first time this year. The next NTT IndyCar Series race will take place in two weeks at Circuit of the Americas on March 24, 2019.
ED JONES, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet, Finished 21st: “It was a frustrating weekend. We had the pace to be at the front in qualifying. Then today, the guys gave me a great race car. We had to take risks to get forward quickly. I made it from 16th to ninth, then I just tried to get a run on (James) Hinchcliffe and unfortunately, I clipped the inside wall in Turn 9 and that was it. I’m sorry for the team, they did great work and they deserved a better result.
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 11th: “Overall, it was a fairly frustrating first half of the race. I got shuffled back at the start and we really didn’t find our groove until later on. After that, we were able to make up some ground and gain some positions. Overall, we definitely have come away with a lot of things in mind to improve on for next time out at COTA. I appreciate all the support from Autogeek and my guys, we’ll try our best to fight up higher on the grid in a couple of weeks.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!