(NEWTON, Iowa) July 21, 2019 – Race Notes
- For the seventh time in the past seven years, an Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet finished inside the Top 5 at Iowa Speedway. Spencer Pigot followed up last year’s podium run with a 5th place in the 2019 edition of the 300-lap race. Ed Carpenter rebounded from a disappointing qualifying effort to run inside the Top 5 as well, but his evening ended with a spin and subsequent contact with the wall in the closing laps of the race. After running as high as 2nd, Carpenter would be credited with a 19th place finish in the Iowa 300.
- Though their qualifying efforts were not what was desired, Carpenter and Pigot worked hard on their race set ups during yesterday evening’s final practice to become comfortable with their cars over the long run. Carpenter, who qualified 17th, was 3rd quick in the 60-minute session. Pigot was 11th in final practice after qualifying 19th.
- After a rain delay stretched over four and a half hours, Carpenter got to work immediately when the green flag finally dropped. He moved up five positions in the first 10 laps to run 12th. Pigot settled into 17th, his starting spot. The first yellow flag flew on Lap 16 as a car spun in Turn 4. Pigot used the opportunity to dive into the pit lane for a fresh set of tires on Lap 19. His No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet crew gained him a position on the stop as he exited the pits in 16th. Carpenter, who did not pit, moved up to 11th as Ryan Hunter-Reay did stop.
- The race went back green on Lap 24. Pigot put his new Firestone Firehawks to work, immediately passing Graham Rahal on the restart. Carpenter made the move on Colton Herta and found himself in the Top 10 for the first time. Up next for the ECR team owner was Scott Dixon, who Carpenter passed for 9th. Pigot continued to carve his way forward and found himself in 10th, directly behind Carpenter.
- A yellow flag flew for more rain on Lap 51, followed by a red flag on Lap 55. After nearly 28 minutes, the race resumed. Carpenter and Pigot both came in for tires and fuel as soon as the pit lane was opened. A slight miscue on Carpenter’s stop saw him drop to 14th while Pigot rejoined the race in 9th.
- On the Lap 65 restart, Carpenter began to surge forward again. In the first green flag lap he moved back up to 12th; by Lap 96, he was back in the Top 10 and made up all positions he had lost except for one. Pigot remained 9th until Lap 113 when he picked off two cars for 7th. Carpenter followed in suit, also gaining two spots to run 9th.
- The next round of pit stops began with Pigot coming in on Lap 137. Again, his crew gained him positions and he would run 5th after the field had cycled through. Carpenter’s stop on Lap 140 saw him jump up three spots and run 6th, directly behind Pigot. The pair of Autogeek drivers would again move forward when Simon Pagenaud got high on the track. By Lap 178, Pigot was running 3rd and Carpenter was 4th. Pagenaud recovered took the position back from Carpenter on Lap 184.
- A caution flag appeared three laps later as two cars made contact in Turn 4. As two of only six cars remaining on the lead lap, Pigot and Carpenter came in for a stop when the pits opened for lead lap cars on Lap 191. Pigot remained 3rd and Carpenter in 5th following their stops, but would fall a position after the Lap 199 restart as Pagenaud got by Pigot and Hinchcliffe worked his way around Carpenter.
- Another round of green flag pit stops for the Ed Carpenter Racing teammates occurred with Pigot in on Lap 248 and Carpenter following on Lap 253. An improper pit entry penalty for Will Power bumped Pigot up to 5th and Carpenter in 6th. However, Carpenter spun exiting Turn 2 and made contact with the wall on Lap 264. He was quickly cleared and released from the infield care center, but the slight damage to the No. 20 Autogeek Chevrolet made it impossible for him to continue. He would be credited with a 19th place finish.
- The only car ahead of Pigot that stopped under the caution was Scott Dixon, moving Pigot up to 4th. The final restart came on Lap 274, but with fresh tires, Dixon was able to take the position back from Pigot in just two laps. For the remaining 24 laps of the race, Pigot held off a charge from Alexander Rossi to maintain the 5th position. With Pigot’s result, 10 of ECR’s 13 starts at Iowa Speedway have concluded in Top 10 finishes. Additionally, his finish at Iowa Speedway matches his best of the year as he also finished 5th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in early May.
- The Ed Carpenter Racing team will face another tight turnaround to prepare the No. 20 and 21 for next weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Not only will it be the third race in three weeks for the NTT IndyCar Series, it will take place on the third different type of venue. Ed Jones, the team’s road and street course driver, will step back into the No. 20 and race alongside Pigot on Sunday, July 28. Carpenter’s next event will be the oval of Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 18.
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 19th: “I am really disappointed. The No. 20 Autogeek Chevrolet was strong tonight. Even though we started so far back, we made our way through the field more than once. To have our race end this way is very frustrating. A job well done by Spencer Pigot for getting ECR another Top 5 at Iowa.”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 5th: “It was a tough race, as always! With it cooling down, it was tougher to make passes as everyone had a little bit more grip. It just speaks to how well the car was handling tonight. The No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet was really good, I can’t thank the guys enough from rebounding from qualifying! At times, we were really strong. That last restart, I couldn’t get up to speed as quick as some of the guys. We’ll have to see where we can improve there, but overall a good recovery. I am very happy to get back into the Top 5!”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!