(NEWTON, Iowa) July 7, 2018 – Qualifying Notes
- Qualifications are complete at Iowa Speedway and Ed Carpenter Racing is now focused on this evening’s final practice as preparations continue for the Iowa Corn 300. Ed Carpenter secured himself a starting position inside the Top 10 as he will roll off 9th for tomorrow’s 300-lap race. Teammate Spencer Pigot will start his first Indy car race at the .875-mile oval from the 18th position. The pair of Fuzzy’s Vodka drivers will have one final hour of practice tonight to dial in their race setups with the session streaming live on IndyCar.com from 6:45-7:45 p.m. ET (5:45-6:45 p.m. local).
- Both Carpenter and Pigot participated in a one-day test at Iowa Speedway last week, which was Pigot’s first time on the short oval in an Indy car. This morning’s opening practice session took place in cooler temperatures than what drivers faced in qualifying. Pigot’s qualification simulation gave him the six-fastest lap at 181.083 miles per hour. Carpenter was only three-tenths of a second behind at 179.789 miles per hour, sitting 14th at the end of the one-hour session.
- In a new rule for 2018, qualification order for oval events is set in reverse order of entrant points. Pigot was the 7th of 22 cars to qualify but struggled with grip in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet throughout his two-lap run. His average speed of 175.210 miles per hour will give him the 18th starting position for tomorrow’s 300-lap race.
- Carpenter was the 11th competitor to make his qualifying run. His second lap was almost two miles an hour faster than his first, giving him a two-lap average of 178.717 miles per hour. He will start the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet from the inside of the fifth row in the 9th position.
- Iowa Speedway will be a new track for Pigot, who is participating in a full Verizon IndyCar Series season for the first time this year. After sharing the No. 20 with Carpenter the past two seasons, the 24-year-old was elevated to ECR’s full-time driver of the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for 2018. Though tomorrow’s race will be his first in an Indy car at Iowa, Pigot competed at the short oval in 2015 during his successful campaign for the Indy Lights championship.
- Carpenter, the only owner/driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series, has been a competitor in all of but one Indy car race at Iowa Speedway, with ten total starts to date. Four of Carpenter’s last six races at Iowa have concluded in Top 10 finishes. His highest result occurred in 2013, when he finished 4th after qualifying in the same position.
- Carpenter and Pigot are aiming to continue Ed Carpenter Racing’s streak of podium finishes at Iowa Speedway. ECR drivers have stood on the first or second step of the podium after the Iowa Corn 300 each of the past three years, leading a total of 431 laps in those events. The team earned a pair of second place finishes with Josef Newgarden in 2015 and JR Hildebrand in 2017. In 2016, the team put forth a dominating performance. Newgarden qualified second, took the lead on the first lap and led a total of 282 laps on his way to the team’s most recent victory.
- The Iowa Corn 300 will take place tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, July 8. The 300-lap race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network with coverage beginning at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local). The green flag is scheduled to drop at 2:40 p.m. ET (1:40 p.m.local).
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, Qualified 9th: “It is difficult compared to last year! We are down over one thousand pounds of downforce from where we qualified in 2017. It’s a big difference. We were all running max downforce earlier, but track temp and air temp are both up and a lot of cars are struggling. If you would have said I would have had this lap time going in, I would have thought we’d be starting near the back! Conditions are so different than where they were this morning in practice.”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, Qualified 18th: “It was definitely tricky. This morning, we had a pretty good run and I was really happy with the Fuzzy’s Vodka car. This afternoon, we just didn’t really have the grip. I was struggling with front grip and also with rear grip on both ends of the track. Hopefully, we can find some more pace tonight.”