- Just days after competing on the flowing road course of Barber Motorsports Park, Ed Carpenter Racing will shift gears to a tight street circuit across the country. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is special to ECR as it is the home of the team’s first street course victory. After a few bouts of misfortune in the opening races of the 2019 season, ECR drivers Ed Jones and Spencer Pigot are hopeful to turn their luck around this weekend at the 45th running of the iconic event in the streets of Long Beach, Calif.
- The NTT IndyCar Series schedule features several back-to-back event weekends in 2019, the first of which is the Barber to Long Beach swing teams will face this week. ECR was left disappointed last Sunday as both drivers faced issues during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Jones had to swing his No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet wide before green flag to avoid hitting the cars in front of him; however, he continued accelerating & was given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. From there, he never had the opportunity to race forward. Pigot parlayed a career-best starting position of 6th into a bold-two stop strategy. However, the timing of the day’s only yellow flag, followed by a penalty, dropped the No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet to the back of the field.
- Indianapolis-based Ed Carpenter Racing is excited to return to a track that is very special to them. ECR recorded their first street course win in 2014 at the 1.968-mile, 12-turn temporary circuit in the downtown streets of Long Beach. The No. 20 came away victorious in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach with Mike Conway behind the wheel; it was the first of the team’s three wins that season.
- Each time Jones has competed at Long Beach, he has left with a strong result. In his first time racing on the downtown street circuit, he led 40 of 42 laps to win the 2015 Indy Lights race. His first Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach came two years later, where he finished 6th in what was only his second career NTT IndyCar Series start. Last year, Jones was well inside the Top 10 after he had made his final pit stop. A yellow flag caught several leaders out who still had to pit, moving Jones into podium contention. He held off a late-race charge from Zach Veach to finish 3rd, his first of two podium finishes last season.
- Next to Jones on the podium for the 2015 Lights race was Pigot, who finished second. Pigot’s first Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was also in 2017, a race where he moved up 11 positions from his qualifying spot to finish 8th. In last year’s race, Pigot was plagued by a mysterious gearbox issue mid-race, ranging from being unable to downshift to the car skipping gears. The problem eventually rectified itself, but not before Pigot had fallen one lap behind the leaders. He finished 15th.
- The 2019 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will span the course of three days. Practice will take place on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13. All practice sessions will be streamed live via INDYCAR Pass through NBC Sports Gold. Qualifying will be broadcast live at 2:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, kicking off four straight hours of coverage from Long Beach which will include the IMSA Weathertech Championship race. Sunday’s 85-lap NTT IndyCar Series race will air from 4 p.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET. Both qualifying and the race will be shown on NBC Sports Network.
ED JONES, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet: “It’s been a tough first three races for the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet, so it’s very exciting to be able to go back to a track where I’ve had some really good results the past few years. Long Beach should suit us well and I’m very hopeful to get some good momentum going into the Month of May!”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet: “Long Beach is one of the best weekends of the year. It’s great to see the enthusiasm of the fans that come out all weekend to see all the different series. We’ve studied where we can improve on street courses and are looking forward to showing that this weekend!”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!