SONOMA, Calif. (September 15, 2018) – Qualifying Notes
- Only 85 laps remain in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Sonoma. Spencer Pigot and Jordan King have completed their final qualifying session of the year, setting the starting grid for the season finale. Pigot will roll off from the inside of Row 9 in 17th. King will start 25th after he suffered a diagnosed engine issue during his qualifying run, which has since been repaired.
- Pigot and King began 2018 with a pre-season test at Sonoma Raceway in early February. For Pigot, it was the first time he was in an Indy car in the new year; for King, it was his first time in an Indy car ever. The pair of 24-year-olds had not been on the 2.385-mile road course since then, but had three full practice sessions to prior to this afternoon’s qualification session.
- Based on this morning’s third practice, Pigot was assigned to Round 1, Group 1 for qualifying. He began the 10-minute session on a set of black Firestone Firehawks, turning three laps before pitting for a set of the red tires. His first flying lap on the reds had him in contention to advance, but he was bumped down after the checkered flag and would end up 9th. As Group 1 times result in odd-numbered starting positions, Pigot will roll off 17th.
- King was out next as Round 2 went green. He also started on the black tire compound, which he too turned three laps on. He came in for a set of reds, but on his out lap, he radioed in that he felt there was a problem with the car. He had to bring the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet back into the pit lane and was not able to turn a lap at speed on the red tires. He will start 25th as a result of the diagnosed engine issue which was repaired after qualifying.
- The Grand Prix of Sonoma will be King’s 11th Verizon IndyCar Series start and will mark the end of his rookie campaign. Before joining Ed Carpenter Racing at the beginning of the year, King ascended the European open wheel ranks. In King’s Indy car debut, the season opening Firestone Grand Prix in St. Petersburg, Fla., he set the track record in qualifying, made the Firestone Fast 6 and took the lead of the race on only the fifth lap. Before he was sidelined today, King had advanced out of the first round of qualifications in half of the possible races this year.
- Pigot will conclude his first full-time season of Indy car racing at Sonoma Raceway. He served as road and street course driver of the No. 20 in 2016 and 2017, then was elevated to ECR’s full-time entry, the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, for 2018. Earlier this week, it was announced Pigot will remain In the No. 21 for the 2019 season. Three of Pigot’s last six races have resulted in Top 6 finishes. He also started 17th in the most recent race at Portland International Raceway but drove through the field to finish 4th, the second-best finish of his career.
- The 2018 season will conclude tomorrow with the championship-deciding Grand Prix of Sonoma, broadcast live on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET.
JORDAN KING (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “It was quite tricky really. We seemed quite strong, but starting our run on reds we had a problem. We had to come into the pits so I didn’t get to set a lap time on reds. I think we were going to be close to the cutoff time. It’s annoying when you can be inside the Top 10, but you end
up last! Tomorrow, it’s going to be a long race. I think it will be quite physical, the circuit seems quite demanding. It’s going to change a lot as the race goes on. Running both Firestone compounds, the black and reds, will be a balancing act on how you set up the car and how you drive. There are going to be a lot of variables!”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “We were trying to change the balance from this morning to get the car more where needed it to be, but we didn’t quite hit the nail on the head unfortunately. We haven’t done more than a handful of laps each outing so the race will be a bit of an unknown hopefully we can keep the tires underneath us and have a good, consistent car. It will be a tough starting position for the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, but it’s a long race. We’ve got a great team here and we’ll try our best to make our way up tomorrow.”