Following two weeks of preparation, the entire Ed Carpenter Racing team is ready to return to action this weekend at Pocono Raceway. Drivers Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot are set to take on the challenge of 500 miles around the three-turn triangular oval nestled in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. The ABC Supply 500 is the 14th of 17 rounds for NTT IndyCar Series in 2019 and the second of two 500-mile races this year.
As Carpenter competes exclusively in the oval events, Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 will be his fourth of five races this season. Now in his 17th year of NTT IndyCar Series competition, the 38-year-old is one of the most experienced drivers in the field. Carpenter splits his No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet with a second driver at the road and street course events, a role Pigot held for two years before being elevated to ECR’s full-time driver of the No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet in 2018. The 25-year-old is ECR’s longest-tenured driver aside from team owner Carpenter; 44 of Pigot’s 48 Indy car starts have been with the Indianapolis-based team.
The 2018 edition of the ABC Supply 500 was Pigot’s first race at Pocono Raceway. Coming to the green flag, Pigot was struck from behind by another competitor. The contact sent Pigot spinning across the track, tapping the inside wall with the rear of his car. Since he was already several laps down, the No. 21 crew continued repairs during a lengthy red flag which began on Lap 8. By rejoining the race, Pigot gained six positions to run 16th. The decision was then made to retire the No. 21 from the event on Lap 17, feeling maximum points had been gained given the circumstances.
Carpenter has competed in each race since the NTT IndyCar Series returned to the 2.5-mile track in 2013, bringing home a Top 10 finish last year. He was 10th at the time of the red flag; once the race resumed, Laps 12-200 remained green. Carpenter did not fall out of the Top 10 for the entire remainder of the event, despite having to hit a difficult fuel number during his last two stints in an effort to not make any additional pit stops. After 500 miles, Carpenter would earn a 10th place finish.
While the ABC Supply 500 is the second of the two 500-mile races this season, the first was the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 in May. ECR competed as a three-car team as road and street course driver of the No. 20, Ed Jones, was entered alongside Carpenter and Pigot. The trio earned the highest average starting position of over a dozen teams in the race as they qualified second, third and fourth. For Carpenter, qualifying second marked the fifth time in seven years he would start first or second in the Indy 500. Pigot qualified next to Carpenter on the front row, his third starting position the highest of his career to date. Both would lead the prestigious race and Carpenter led the team with a 6th place result.
Prior to the mid-summer break, the NTT IndyCar Series completed a stretch of three races in three weeks on three different types of circuits. The first event saw Jones, in the No. 20, reach the Firestone Fast 6 in the streets of Toronto. His effort, combined with that of Pigot, was the best street course qualifying effort by two ECR cars in the team’s history. Next was the short oval of Iowa Speedway, Carpenter’s most recent race. Carpenter and Pigot both drove up through the field with Pigot securing the team’s seventh Top 5 finish at Iowa in the past seven years. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was highlighted by a stellar start by Jones as he passed seven cars in the first three laps, while Pigot matched his best result at the road course and finished 7th.
Pocono Raceway will kick off another set of three race weekends in a row for Pigot. From Long Pond, PA, ECR will make its way to World Wide Technology Raceway (formerly Gateway Motorsports Park) just across the river from St. Louis, MO. There, Carpenter will conclude his 2019 season on Saturday, August 24 as the 1.25-mile track is the last oval on this year’s schedule. Ed Jones will be back behind the wheel of the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet for the Grand Prix of Portland on Sunday, September 1.
On-track activity for the ABC Supply 500 will span two days. Practice will begin on Saturday, August 17 at 9:30 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying at 12:30 p.m. ET and final practice at 4 p.m. All will be streamed live via INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold. NBC Sports Network will air a tape-delayed broadcast of qualifying at 2:30 p.m. ET, also on Saturday. Coverage of Sunday’s 500-mile race will begin at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. The green flag is scheduled to fly on the ABC Supply 500 at 2:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 18.
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet: “I am always excited to get back to Pocono Raceway! It is such a unique and challenging track to drive on, plus it is another 500-mile race which adds a special dynamic. It has not been our strongest track in the past, so I am looking forward to getting there and turning it into a successful race for the team!”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet: “I am looking forward to getting back in the car at Pocono after a few weeks off! The goal is to have a solid weekend and start a stretch of a few more good races to finish off the season. Last year, I enjoyed the laps I was able to do at Pocono, but hopefully this year we have a bit smoother race and can complete all 500 miles!”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!