INDIANAPOLIS (August 20, 2019) – Race Preview
- Only one oval track remains on the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series schedule, World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, located just across the river from St. Louis, MO. For team owner Ed Carpenter, who focuses on driving at the oval events, Saturday night’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will be his last race of the season. Spencer Pigot will look to continue a streak of impressive short oval finishes in his 50th start with Ed Carpenter Racing.
- Prior to last year, Pigot had not raced at the 1.25-mile oval previously known as Gateway Motorsports Park. He battled his way through the field to earn a 6th place finish in the 2018 edition of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. On a four-stop strategy that favored the race staying green, Carpenter was caught one lap down when the last yellow flag of the night flew. His final pit stop would drop him to 16th but he persevered and continued to make his way back forward. With only ten laps remaining, he completed a pass that gave him the 12th finishing position.
- Just two days ago, Carpenter and Pigot raced in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. What was scheduled to be the second of two 500-mile races on this year’s schedule ran only 128 of 200 laps due to weather. In the No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet, Carpenter matched his best finish of the year to date with a 6th place result. Pigot’s day ended after just 40 laps as No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet shot away from him after hitting a bump in Turn 1. Without any steering, he made heavy contact with the wall and would be credited with a 17th place finish.
- As Carpenter drives exclusively at the oval events, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will be the finale of his 17th season of NTT IndyCar Series competition. In addition to Pocono, ECR’s leader has raced at Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Carpenter continued to show his prowess at IMS, starting on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 for fifth time in the past seven years. He added to his tally of solid “500” results by finishing 6th, the best of ECR’s three-car lineup.
- WWT Raceway is the second of two short oval races on the NTT IndyCar Series calendar; Iowa Speedway was the first. For the second year in a row, Pigot raced to the front of the pack at Iowa and gained the most positions of all competitors. His 5th place extended ECR’s streak of Top 5 finishes at Iowa to seven consecutive years. The result matched his best of the season as he also finished 5th at the IMS road course. Two weeks after INDYCAR Grand Prix, he would start a career-best 3rd in the Indianapolis 500 and go on to lead the race. This season, Pigot has earned career-best starting positions at each type of track the series races on – ovals, road courses and street circuits.
- While Carpenter checked off a milestone last weekend; Pigot will reach one this weekend. Carpenter’s 6th place at Pocono on Sunday was the 50th Top 10 finish of his Indy car career, even as he has only competed on ovals since 2014. Pigot will be making his 50th Indy car start with Ed Carpenter Racing this weekend. Since stepping up to the NTT IndyCar Series in 2016, all but four of Pigot’s starts have come with the team. Aside from Carpenter, Pigot is ECR’s longest-tenured driver.
- The NTT IndyCar Series is currently in a string of three back-to-back races on three different types of circuits, the second of which is this weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500. Labor Day weekend will see Indy car racing back in the Pacific Northwest after a successful return to Portland International Raceway last year. After Carpenter concludes his season this weekend, Ed Jones will step back into the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet at Portland. The 2019 season will conclude in just over one month as the NTT IndyCar Series races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time in 15 years.
- Both practice sessions from WWT Raceway will be streamed live via INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, occurring on Friday, August 23 at 1 p.m. CT and 8:15 p.m. CT. Qualifications will take place in between the two practices, airing live on NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m. CT. Coverage of the 248-lap Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will begin at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday, August 24.
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet: “WWT Raceway at Gateway will be my last race behind the wheel in 2019, so I am very motivated to end the season on a high note and get an ECR car back in Victory Lane! I have always enjoyed racing at Gateway and we have had some very fast cars at this track, but we haven’t had the best of luck yet. Hopefully, we will have a fast car again and have a chance to fight for a win. I feel like we are coming into this race with positive momentum and I look forward to racing in front of a full house again at Gateway!”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet: “WWT Raceway at Gateway is a very difficult track as both ends of the oval are so different. It’s a tough race and can be hard to pass; hopefully, we can be competitive in qualifying and start near the front! We had a good run last year as we finished 6th. We want to have another strong race this weekend at the last oval of the year!”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!