FIRST OVAL RACE OF 2018 UP NEXT FOR ED CARPENTER RACING AT ISM RACEWAY
Team Owner Ed Carpenter Back in the No. 20 To Kick Off 16th Season of IndyCar Racing; Spencer Pigot To Compete in First Oval Race For ECR
INDIANAPOLIS (April 3, 2018) – Preview Notes
Ed Carpenter Racing is heading to the one-mile oval of ISM Raceway outside of Phoenix for Saturday night’s Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix, the second race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. Ed Carpenter will climb back behind the wheel of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for his first race since August of 2017. Spencer Pigot will compete in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet in his first oval race for Ed Carpenter Racing.
The Phoenix Grand Prix will mark the beginning of Carpenter’s 16th season of Indy car competition. Though he has now shifted his driving focus exclusively to oval events, Carpenter remains the only individual in the Verizon IndyCar Series who handles both the responsibility of driving the racecar and owning his own team. For the road and street course events, Carpenter hands the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet over to British newcomer Jordan King. In his Indy car debut, King set the track record for the streets of St. Petersburg and took the lead of the race only five laps in.
After sharing the No. 20 with Carpenter the past two seasons, Pigot has been elevated to ECR’s full-time driver of the No. 21 for the 2018 season. ISM Raceway will be a new track for Pigot, who has spent the majority of his Indy car career to date competing on road and street courses. Though Phoenix will be his first short-oval event in an Indy car, he has raced in the previous two Indianapolis 500-mile races. He has also tested at the low-banked tri-oval of ISM Raceway multiple times, including the two-day open test in early February.
Carpenter netted his best finish of the 2017 season last year at Phoenix, albeit with a great amount of perseverance. Only 17 laps into a two-hour practice session on Friday, a fuel leak was discovered on the No. 20. Without having a chance to run any laps in qualifying trim, Carpenter was forced to qualify conservatively and start the race 21st. Over the course of the 250-lap race Saturday night, Carpenter fought his way through the field to bring home a 7th place finish.
A pair of Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolets will return to the track in Phoenix, but will appear different than the twin dark green cars from previous seasons. The new black, white and chrome look for the No. 20 debuted with King in St. Petersburg and will continue throughout the season. Though it has been spotted in tests, Pigot’s No. 21 will make it’s race weekend debut in the new bright green, white, and gold livery. Fuzzy’s Vodka has been with ECR since the team’s inception in 2012.
Though three weeks have passed since the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the ECR drivers have kept their skills sharp with ample on-track time. The weekend following St. Petersburg, Pigot resumed his endurance racing duties for Mazda Team Joest, leading Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring multiple times. Carpenter turned laps at Texas Motor Speedway in a Firestone tire test while Pigot and King participated in Verizon IndyCar Series Open Tests at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix will be a two-day event, beginning with practice and qualifying on Friday, April 6. The 250-lap race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, April 7, at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. local).
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet: “I am very excited to get my season started finally! The team has done a very good job getting prepared for this year and I am confident that we are ready for this first oval race. Phoenix always presents a tough challenge for the teams, but we are heading there to go fight for a win!”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet: “This will be my first time ever racing at Phoenix and it will be my first race on a short oval since Indy Lights in 2015, so there’s a lot to look forward to! I really enjoyed the challenges of the track at the Open Test back in February, it’s extremely fast. It’s very important to be precise with the car because the racing line is very narrow. If you’re not in the right place it will cost a lot of lap time. We made good progress at the test on the Fuzzy’s Vodka car which we hope will put us in a good spot this weekend. I’ve spent a lot of time with ECR the past two season watching and studying everything about oval racing, so it will be a nice change to be actually driving in the race!”