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Carpenter Will Start 5th in Tomorrow’s Race, Newgarden One Row Behind In 7th
(AVONDALE, Ariz.) April 1, 2016 – Qualifying Notes

  • The weekend started off exactly as planned for Ed Carpenter Racing when teammates Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden finished the first practice session at the top of the leaderboard. Carpenter set the fastest time of this morning’s practice session with a lap of 192.400 mph in his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet. Newgarden was just behind with the second-quick lap at 192.225 mph.
  • Qualifying for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix featured each driver taking two laps around the 1.022-mile oval to garner their average speed. Hello Castroneves captured the pole position for tomorrow’s 250-lap race.
  • Newgarden was the first of the ECR drivers to qualify. With laps of 19.3675 seconds and 19.3053 seconds in his No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet, his average speed of 190.094 was good enough to earn him the 7th starting position on tomorrow night’s grid.
  • Carpenter took his qualification attempt immediately after Newgarden. His two laps of 19.2647 seconds and 19.3053 seconds earned him the 5th position with an average speed of 190.780 mph. An oval specialist, this will be Carpenter’s first race this season.
  • Practice for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix will continue this evening with one more half an hour session. It will be the last practice before tomorrow night’s event.
  • Saturday night’s race will mark the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). Carpenter is one of only four drivers in the field who competed in the last Indy car race at PIR, held in 2005.
  • Though never having raced at Phoenix International Raceway, Newgarden set the third-fastest lap of the two-day promoter test in February. Carpenter was right behind, setting the fourth-quickest lap overall.
  • For the first four events of 2016, Newgarden’s No. 21 will feature a special paint scheme depicting the newest addition to the Fuzzy’s Vodka portfolio. The Commemorative 100th Running Limited Edition bottle, which celebrates the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, will be available mid-April.
  • The Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, April 2.

ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 5TH: “We wanted to be 1-2 all weekend! While we weren’t able to accomplish that, our main goal is to win the race. We still have a good opportunity in front of us for that. It’s a good thing when you’re a little frustrated about starting 5th! I know there’s more speed in the car, we just didn’t quite get the right downforce level for qualifying in these conditions. IndyCar is so tough, we’re fighting over hundredths and thousands. It doesn’t take much to get a jump on your competition so we’ll chalk this up and remember it for next time.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 21 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET: “We hung it out there like we needed to and got up relatively high up in the field. Not quite what we wanted, I thought both myself and Ed were going to be pole contenders for sure. We had great cars with the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolets. We were just battling the conditions there. I don’t think we quite had what we needed, but even though we’re not on the pole we still have fast racecars!”