Spencer Pigot Leads Indy 500, Finishes 20th After Drive-Through Penalty; Danica Patrick’s Final Race Cut Short By Accident

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 27, 2018) – Race Notes

  • Ed Carpenter recorded a career-best finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today in his 15th start in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. After leading 65 laps, the most of all drivers, Carpenter earned a second place result in the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. After running in the Top 10 for the first half of the race and also leading the field at one point, Spencer Pigot finished 20th after a drive-through penalty dropped him one lap behind the field. Danica Patrick’s legendary motorsports career came to a premature conclusion after contact with the Turn 2 wall ended her race early.
  • Carpenter, the pole winner for today’s Indianapolis 500, led the 33-car field to the green flag and maintained the position for the first 30 laps of the race. He only relinquished the lead to make his first pit stop; by Lap 35, he was back at the front of the pack. In fact, the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet remained in the first position for 63 of the first 92 laps.
  • When Carpenter made his first pit stop, teammate Spencer Pigot took the lead of the Indianapolis 500. Today’s race was just the second Verizon IndyCar Series that Pigot has led; the 24-year-old paced the field for three laps before making his first pit stop. Pigot did not fall out of the Top 10 once until after his third pit stop on Lap 94. A drive-through penalty for the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet following a pit lane speed violation dropped Pigot all the way back to 27th, one lap behind the field. Each of the four cautions following his penalty did not fall in his favor; he was unable to regain his lap. However, Pigot would stay the course and make up seven positions by the end of the race to finish 20th.
  • Patrick concluded her groundbreaking and historic motorsports career today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Despite a seven-year absence from the Verizon IndyCar Series, Patrick was immediately up to speed in her No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet, reaching the Firestone Fast 9 in last weekend’s qualifying and earning the 7th starting position. Patrick was holding steady just outside of the Top 10 until Lap 68, when her fluorescent green Indy car spun around in Turn 2, ending her day. Patrick would be credited with a 30th place finish in her final Indianapolis 500.
  • Will Power made his third pit stop two laps later than Carpenter (Lap 94 for Carpenter versus Power on Lap 92), allowing Power to sneak past Carpenter upon exiting the pit lane. Carpenter stayed within striking distance of Power for the next 100 laps as the two remained on the same pit sequence. The final restart of the race took place on Lap 192 with four cars ahead of Power and Carpenter on an alternate strategy. With only four laps to go, Carpenter passed Scott Dixon for the fifth position. At the same time, the cars running first and second were forced to pit for fuel. The following lap, the second place car entered the pit lane which handed Carpenter the position. The 37-year-old driver and team owner had two and a half laps to chase down Power, but it was not enough time. Power would take his first Indianapolis 500 victory 3.1 seconds over Carpenter.
  • The hometown favorite’s 2nd place finish bested a previous high finish at IMS of 5th, set in 2008. Additionally, this was Carpenter’s highest Verizon IndyCar Series finish since finishing 6th at Iowa Speedway in 2015. The 2018 Indianapolis 500 pole position was Carpenter’s third in six years; he also earned the coveted first starting spot in 2013 and 2014. Carpenter is just the 10th driver to collect three or more Indy 500 poles in the century-plus history of the race. Though Carpenter shifted his driving focus exclusively to the oval events in 2014, 2018 is now the 11th year in a row in which he has led a Verizon IndyCar Series race.
  • Today’s Indianapolis 500 was Pigot’s third, though his first with Ed Carpenter Racing. As road and street course driver for ECR’s No. 20 in 2016 and 2017, he participated in those 500-mile races with opposing teams as Carpenter raced the No. 20 at Indianapolis. Pigot’s 6th starting position was the highest starting position of Pigot’s 27 Verizon IndyCar Series starts so far, besting a 9th-place start in the INDYCAR Grand Prix earlier this month. Pigot is in the midst of his first season as a full-time Verizon IndyCar Series driver.
  • Thirteen years after her debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Patrick has now competed in her final race. Patrick elected to end her motorsports career on her own terms, vowing to participate in two final 500-mile races as part of the Danica Double – the Daytona 500 in February and the Indianapolis 500 with Ed Carpenter Racing. Patrick will now turn her attention to her entrepreneurial endeavors, including a wine brand, Somnium, her health and fitness book, Pretty Intense, and her athleisure clothing line, Warrior by Danica Patrick.
  • Ed Carpenter Racing will return to work tomorrow to prepare cars for Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader with races on both Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3. Pigot will be joined by teammate Jordan King, road and street course driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. King most recently competed in the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, qualifying 5th for only his fourth Indy car race. Carpenter will get his next chance behind the wheel of the No. 20 at Texas Motor Speedway, less than two weeks from today on Saturday, June 9.
DANICA PATRICK, No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet: “Definitely not a great ending, but I said before I came here that I feel like if it’s a complete disaster, ‘complete’ like as in not in the ballpark at all, look silly, then people might remember that. If I win, people will remember that. But probably anything in between might just be a little part of a big story. I feel like that’s how it is. I’m appreciative for all the fans, for GoDaddy and for Ed Carpenter Racing for giving me a good car. For sure, I’m very grateful for everybody and for being able to finish it up like I wanted to. It still was a lot of great moments this month, a lot of great moments this year.”
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet: “I’ll feel pretty good about this in a couple days, I think. The team really did a great job all month long, all day long, really. Pit stops were really good. It was almost like being out front early probably hurt us a little bit, just because guys started saving fuel a little earlier. We got behind on the fuel save. Track position was everything we thought it was going to be coming into the day. You heard the drivers talk all week. Just couldn’t quite get it back from (Will Power). We were saving fuel through the middle part of the race when everyone was essentially trying to cut out a stop. That was a little odd. You never know how these races are going to unfold. I thought for the most part the team executed well. All in all, I thought if Will (Power) won the race and we ended up second, and we’ll be happy with that. We’ll come back stronger next year.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet: “We started off well, then came the speeding penalty and next thing I know, we’re a lap down. We weren’t able to get it back. I know we had enough speed to finish in the top ten, but, unfortunately, we didn’t have that luck and finished farther back. I’m still really thankful for my team, especially the Preferred Freezer guys for giving me a great car all month and our fans, too. It was good to be a part of it all.”