JOSEF NEWGARDEN ADVANCES TO ROUND 2 DURING QUALIFYING AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL
Newgarden, Spencer Pigot Will Start In Their First Indy Car Race at Watkins Glen Tomorrow
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (September 3, 2016) – Qualifying Notes
- Qualifying positions are set for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to Watkins Glen International Raceway for the first time since 2010. Ed Carpenter Racing driver Josef Newgarden led the team’s two-car effort, earning himself 12th place position on tomorrow’s starting grid. Spencer Pigot will start the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen from the 21st spot.
- Sporting a brand new Samsung livery on his No. 20, Pigot set the 6th fastest time of the morning practice session and 7th fastest lap of the weekend before qualifying. Before Newgarden could lay down a lap at speed in this morning’s practice, he spun in Turn 7 and made contact with the tire barrier. The No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka crew had the car fully repaired an hour before qualifying was set to begin.
- Pigot and Newgarden were both in Round 1, Group 1 for qualifying. The two ECR cars used the same strategy during the 10-minute shootout with both starting on black Firestone Firehawk tires, then switching to a set of sticker reds after two laps. Pigot’s fast lap of 1:25.1826 had him 11th in the session. Newgarden set his quickest lap of 1:23.8082 on his final time around the 3.4-mile circuit, vaulting him to 5th and advancing to Round 2.
- Newgarden began Round 2 again on black Firehawks, then switching to another set of sticker reds. While the reds are almost always the preferred choice for qualifying, the grip was not as high as expected to be and the drivers who remained on blacks were quicker. Newgarden’s fast lap of 1:24.0983 was 12th in the 10-minute session, giving him his starting position for tomorrow’s 60-lap race.
- While neither Newgarden or Pigot has raced an Indy car at Watkins Glen before, Pigot competed in the Sahlens Six Hours of the Glen as part of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship over the 4th of July weekend. Pigot had raced to a 7.5 second lead before engine issues sidelined his team with 30 minutes remaining.
- Newgarden sits only 10 points out of third place in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings. He is ranked as the top oval driver in 2016, earning more points than any other driver over the course of the five oval races. The season’s final race at Sonoma Raceway will award double points.
- The penultimate race on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule was originally scheduled to be a street race in Boston, but was moved to Watkins Glen after the promoter cancelled the original event. What was added to the calendar this year as a replacement venue now has a new multi-year agreement with INDYCAR and will return in Labor Day weekend again in 2017.
- The INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen will go green just after 2:30 p.m. ET tomorrow. A live broadcast of the race will begin at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 21 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 12TH: “We have the best in the business here – great cars and great mechanics. I’m really grateful for the work the Fuzzy’s Vodka guys for getting us back out after this morning. In qualifying, we just struggled. Everyone’s kind of scratching their heads a little bit, it might be a temperature thing but the black tires seem to be more favorable now. It was tough in the first run, we made it by the skin of our teeth which was good. We were hoping we could have made the Fast 6 but it just didn’t happen.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 20 SAMSUNG CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 21ST: “The day started off really well. I thought third practice was the best session we’ve had. We were really close to the front and the car was feeling really good. This afternoon in qualifying, we put the reds on and it was a little trickier. I made a pretty big mistake on my clean lap at the end of the session and never got a chance to put one together. It’s unfortunate, the guys gave me a great car. I know we’re fast, but a mistake prevented us from showing that in qualifying.”