- The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series has come to a close with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. After a trying weekend, Ed Carpenter Racing drivers Spencer Pigot and Ed Jones were determined to make the most of the last race of the year. Pigot fought hard until the end of the 90-lap race, finishing 20th after battling severe tire degradation in the closing laps. Suspension damage would eliminate Jones from competition and leave him with a 23rd place result.
- Pigot completed the race on three pit stops, making his first on Lap 11 to swap his opening set of sticker red Firestone Firehawks for a set of black tires. He fought an ill-handling No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet during his second stint, but was still able to maintain his position. For the final stint, he selected a set of scuffed red tires in hopes of gaining more spots. Unfortunately, the reds did not hold up as well as anticipated. In the closing laps, Pigot was unable to hold off competitors who had selected red tires or blacks. He dropped from 16th to 20th, where he would finish the race.
- Jones also made his first pit stop on Lap 11, also electing to make a change from red to black tires. He was able to stretch his tires until Lap 37, when he made his second stop. The only yellow flag of the day flew on Lap 45 and Jones used the caution to make another pit top. On the Lap 48 restart, Jones was hit by another competitor in Turn 2. He fought the handling issues which resulted from the contact, but had to bring the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet in two laps later. With hopes that a new set of tires would rectify the problem, he rejoined the race. However, it was short-lived as it was immediately deemed the suspension on the No. 20 was damaged beyond repair. Jones was retired from the race on Lap 51 and was credited with a 23rd place finish.
- Jones served as road and street course driver of the No. 20 this season with team owner Ed Carpenter competing during the oval events. Of the five oval races in 2019, Carpenter finished in the top six on three occasions. He qualified on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 for the fifth time in the past seven years and started 2nd. The Indianapolis-native led the “500” before finishing 6th, then followed up with another 6th place at Pocono Raceway. In the conclusion of his 17th season of Indy car competition, Carpenter returned to the podium. The 38-year-old raced his way through the entire field at WTT Raceway, finishing 2nd by only .0399 of a second.
- This season, Pigot earned career-best starting positions at each type of track the series races on – ovals, road courses and street circuits. He earned a spot on the front row of the Indianapolis 500, qualifying third. Pigot added two 5th place finishes to his credit in 2019, one at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and one at Iowa Speedway. With his result, the 25-year-old extended ECR’s streak of Top 5 finishes at Iowa to seven consecutive years. He has started over 50 races with Ed Carpenter Racing, making him the team’s longest-tenured driver aside from Carpenter.
- Jones’s best finish of the year came at the INDYCAR Grand Prix at IMS, when he finished 6th. Following that event, he moved from the No. 20 over to the No. 63 for the Indianapolis 500. He qualified a career-best fourth, making ECR the only multi-car team to have their entire lineup in the Fast Nine Shootout for the pole position. Jones reached the Firestone Fast 6 during qualifying on two occasions this year, the IMS road course and the streets of Toronto.
- The NTT IndyCar Series will resume on March 15, 2020 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. After a week off, Ed Carpenter Racing will return to its Indianapolis-based race shop and begin preparations for the 2020 season.
ED JONES, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet, Finished 23rd: “It was a frustrating weekend and even though we didn’t quite have the pace, we worked hard during the race. Obviously the restarts are quite eventful, when it goes green you are allowed to pass and it seems a lot of people didn’t realize that going into Turn 11. I made up a few places, then again into Turn 2 I was making up some more. We were on the outside of the track when another car just drove straight into us. Unfortunately, it damaged the car and we had to retire from the race.”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 20th: “It was not a very strong race for us. I am disappointed to end the season on this kind of note. There were some positives throughout the year that we can look back on but also some areas we need to work on. I want to thank everyone at Ed Carpenter Racing for always trying their best and making the most of every situation! We’ll work to be better next time.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!