Josef Newgarden Aims To Finally Reach The Podium At Mid-Ohio; Spencer Pigot Hopes To Improve On Best Finish Of The Season
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (July 26, 2016) – Preview Notes
- After a weekend off, the Ed Carpenter Racing team will make the four-hour drive to Lexington, Ohio in hopes of capturing the team’s second win of 2016. Twin Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolets will take to the 2.258-mile, 13-turn track at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200 on Sunday, July 31. After earning his best finish of the year at the most recent road course on the schedule, rookie Spencer Pigot looks to visit the podium at Mid-Ohio as he did last year in Indy Lights. Championship hopeful Josef Newgarden, fresh off his first victory of the year only two races ago, aims to have a successful weekend at Mid-Ohio to continue his climb up the point standings.
- Pigot’s last outing at Mid-Ohio helped vault him into contention for the 2015 Indy Lights championship. After he finished 3rd during the second Indy Lights race at Mid-Ohio last year, Pigot sat only six points behind in the standings. Once he won the final two races of the season and clinched the championship, Pigot graduated to the Verizon IndyCar Series for 2016. Mid-Ohio will be only the 8th race of his Indy car career.
- Newgarden returns to Mid-Ohio with the hopes of taking care of unfinished business from the past two years. In 2015 he was on a strategy that had him solidly on the podium, but was caught out by an untimely caution period and finished 13th. Newgarden started on the front row in 2014 and had just taken the lead of the race when he came in for his final pit stop. After running over an air hose, he was forced to serve a drive-through penalty and had to settle for 12th.
- Pigot’s best result of the year came at Road America, also a natural terrain road course like Mid-Ohio. After starting 17th, he worked his way up to a 9th place finish. He gained six positions in the last 12 laps, including passing two cars in the final three laps.
- Not only has Newgarden not missed any races after being injured in the suspended Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 12, he earned his first victory of the year since then. Driving the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet with a surgically-repaired right clavicle and broken bone in his right hand, Newgarden dominated the Iowa Corn 300 on July 10. He led 282 of 300 laps on his way to his first oval victory and third win of his Indy car career.
- Just last week, Ed Carpenter Racing tested at Mid-Ohio. Pigot got his first taste of the course in an Indy car, while J.R. Hildebrand filled in for Newgarden. Hildebrand, who finished 6th in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 for ECR, has been instrumental in testing the car for Newgarden while he rests his injured hand. Hildebrand also tested the No. 21 prior to Road America, where Newgarden finished 8th, and Iowa Speedway, the site of Newgarden’s dominating victory.
- Newgarden currently sits 5th in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings with 344 points, just 14 points out of 3rd. Pigot races the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet in road and street course events and joined ECR in Detroit, following the Indianapolis 500. Team owner Ed Carpenter drives the No. 20 during the oval events.
- The Honda Indy 200 weekend will feature live television coverage each day. On Friday, July 29, practice will be broadcast from 2-4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Qualifying will be on NBCSN from 2-3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 30. The 90-lap race will air live Sunday, July 31 on CNBC at 2 p.m. ET with a re-broadcast on NBCSN at 5:30 p.m.
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET: I’m very excited for the race this weekend at Mid-Ohio, we had a productive test last week. It felt like the car is made for tracks like this, it was amazing to feel the cornering speeds the car is capable of. I think we will be able to build on what we learned and hopefully turn it into a strong weekend for the Fuzzy’s Vodka/Rising Star Racing car.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 21 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET: “I can’t wait to get back to Mid-Ohio. It’s a great road course track, one of the best we have in North America. I’m excited to get back in the car and see what we can do points wise. We’ve had good cars around Mid-Ohio the past couple of years, it’s a really good shot for the team to get a win there. I feel confident that we’ll have a good effort with the whole Fuzzy’s Vodka crew and we should be able to move up the board a little bit after the weekend and see where we’re at in the points heading into Pocono! I’m ready to get back in the car after a weekend off.”