JR Hildebrand Made His Indy Car Debut At Mid-Ohio; Spencer Pigot Returns To Site Of His Highest Indy Car Finish
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (July 25, 2017) – Preview Notes
* After a weekend off, Ed Carpenter Racing will make the four-hour drive to Lexington, Ohio in hopes of capturing the team’s first road course podium of 2017. Twin Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolets will take to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200 on Sunday, July 30. Both ECR drivers have fond memories of the road course as JR Hildebrand made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut at the track in 2010, while Spencer Pigot will return to the location of his highest Indy car finish to date.
* Mid-Ohio is the home of Hildebrand’s very first Verizon IndyCar Series start. After winning the 2009 Indy Lights championship, Hildebrand’s Indy car debut came the following year on the 2.258-mile circuit. He took the checkered flag in his first race while competing for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, filling in for the injured Mike Conway. Conway would later drive the No. 20 on road and street courses for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2014, winning two races.
* Pigot, the current road and street course driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet, has competed every year at Mid-Ohio since 2010 while racing up through the Mazda Road to Indy. The 23-year-old entered the Verizon IndyCar Series last year after winning the 2015 Indy Light championship. The 2016 Honda Indy 200 was Pigot’s eighth Indy car race and only his fifth with Ed Carpenter Racing.
* Including his debut, Hildebrand has three Indy car starts at Mid-Ohio. Most recently, he raced on the 13-turn natural-terrain road course in 2012, finishing 9th. Prior to the 2016 race, Hildebrand tested the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet while Josef Newgarden rested an injured hand. Hildebrand helped develop a set up for the car which Newgarden qualified third for last year’s race.
* After starting 19th in the 2016 Honda Indy 200, Pigot used a combination of skill and strategy to finish 7th. Pigot made a pit stop four laps prior to the first caution, vaulting into the Top 10 as other cars stopped under the yellow. He stayed there for the duration of the race, running as high as 5th. His 7th place finish has held as the best of his 19 Verizon IndyCar Series starts. It is also Ed Carpenter Racing’s highest result at Mid-Ohio to date.
* Just three weeks ago, Hildebrand scored not only his highest finish of 2017, but also one of the best results of his Indy car career. The 29-year-old’s 2nd place at Iowa Speedway topped his previous high result of this year, a 3rd at Phoenix International Raceway in late April. His second podium of 2017 also matched his career best finish in Indy car competition, a second place finish in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 his rookie year.
* Pigot hopes to turn his luck around in Mid-Ohio after fighting through a myriad of unfortunate circumstances so far in his sophomore season. While running 5th in St. Petersburg, a brake rotor ignited; a misfire of the engine following a pit stop in the INDYCAR Grand Prix dropped him from 6th; and he had worked his way up to 8th at Road America when he had to make two lengthy pit stops for repairs to the front suspension. At the most recent race in the streets of Toronto, Pigot gained seven positions in the first 15 green flag laps. However, he was relegated to the rear of the field following unscheduled pit stop after another competitor cut his left rear tire. Pigot is credited with executing over 50 on-track passes for position and has three Top 10 finishes this year.
* All Honda Indy 200 practice sessions will stream live on IndyCar.com. Qualifications will be broadcast live by NBC Sports Network at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 29. The 90-lap race will air live on CNBC at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 30, followed by an encore on NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. ET.
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet): “I’ve always loved driving at Mid-Ohio since I first went there in 2010. It’s a very challenging track that takes a lot of commitment and precision to be fast in an Indy car. It’s one of those places that flows extremely well so when you get into a rhythm around there, the laps just fly by. We had a pretty good race there last year; the improvements we’ve made to the Fuzzy’s Vodka car this season should makes even more competitive. I can’t wait to see how we stack up!”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet): “I actually made my Verizon IndyCar Series debut at Mid-Ohio. I’ve always really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to getting back there. The track has an interesting mix of fast and slow corners, which, combined with its undulating terrain, give it a great and unique flow.”