ED CARPENTER RACING AIMS TO FINISH YEAR STRONG IN SEASON FINALE
Josef Newgarden and Spencer Pigot Set to Compete in Final IndyCar Race of 2016 at Sonoma Raceway
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (September 13, 2016) – Preview Notes
- The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series has come down to the final race, hosted in the hills at the base of the Sonoma Wine Country in northern California. Ed Carpenter Racing drivers Josef Newgarden and Spencer Pigot will conclude their season at the 2.385-mile, 12-turn natural-terrain road course of Sonoma Raceway. The 85-lap season finale will take place on Sunday, September 18.
- The No. 20 Chevrolet of Pigot will return to the track in its new black Samsung livery, debuted two weeks ago at Watkins Glen International. Samsung, a multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Seoul, signed on to support the 22-year-old rookie for the final two races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. Rising Star Racing coordinated the partnership.
- Newgarden started last year’s GoPro Grand Prix from the front row, the second year in a row he qualified in the second position. He was still running second on Lap 61 of the 85-lap race when the car stalled following a routine pit stop. He fell a lap down and finished 21st, but claimed 7th in the championship – a best for both himself and Ed Carpenter Racing.
- Though Pigot has not raced at Sonoma Raceway in an Indy car before, he participated in an all-day test at the course on Thursday, September 8. The 2015 Indy Lights champion was announced as the road and street course driver for the No. 20 one week after running in his first Indianapolis 500. Sonoma will be only his 10th Indy car race and 7th with Ed Carpenter Racing. He has two Top 10 finishes with ECR, including driving to a 7th place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after starting 19th. Pigot has been running at the finish of every race he has competed in this year.
- Newgarden is concluding another stellar season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He has started on the front row of three events, including qualifying second for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 where he finished third. Midway through the season, the 25-year-old suffered a broken right clavicle and a small fracture in his right hand during the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. He missed no races, returning to the car two weeks later at Road America. One month after the accident, Newgarden dominated the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway, leading 282 of 300 laps on his way to his third Indy car victory and first on an oval. He has 10 Top 10 finishes, six Top 5s and four podiums in 15 races this season.
- While the 2016 championship will be decided between Team Penske drivers Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, Newgarden is locked in a tight battle for the 3rd position. Newgarden currently sits 5th in the standings, five points behind Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves who are tied for 3rd. The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma is worth double points, with the winner of the race receiving one-hundred points.
- The weekend will kick off with two practice sessions on Friday, September 16. Qualifying will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, September 17 at 6 p.m. ET. Live coverage of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 18, also on NBCSN.
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 20 SAMSUNG CHEVROLET: “I haven’t raced at Sonoma Raceway since 2014 so I’m excited to be going back! It’s a very challenging track with lots of elevation changes and a good combination of slow and fast corners. We learned a lot at the test so hopefully we will come back strong for the race. I’ve really enjoyed my rookie season in IndyCar and I’ll be giving it my best to end the year on a high note!”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 21 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET: “I’m excited to get back to Sonoma Raceway, it’s great to race there for the finale. We’re had an awesome season with the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka car and we’re looking to finish things off right. Sonoma’s been good to us the last couple of years with starting on the front row after the last two qualifying sessions there. We need to try and replicate that, then have a good, strong finish and see where that puts us in the championship!”