SONOMA, Calif. (September 16, 2018) – Race Notes
- The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season concluded today after 85 laps around Sonoma Raceway’s 2.385-mile road course. Jordan King was forced to start last in today’s race, but gained the most positions of all drivers to finish 13th. Spencer Pigot’s strong run ended early when a gearbox issue concluded his season on only 47 laps into the race. He would be credited with a 24th place finish.
- Though Pigot was in contention to advance in yesterday’s qualification session, he was bumped down after the checkered flag and would start today’s race in 17th. King was not able to get a lap in at speed on the red tires, suffering from a diagnosed and subsequently repaired engine issue. He would be forced to start from 25th, the last spot on the grid.
- Pigot and King both started on black Firestone Firehawks, two of only three cars in the field to do so. By electing to do this, they were able to fulfill their minimum run on the black tires before being able to race on the red tires for the remainder of the event. Both came in to the pit lane on Lap 12 for their first set of sticker reds and vaulted up the order as other strategies began to play out. After all cars in the field had stopped, Pigot was up four positions to 13th while King was up nine to 16th.
- On Lap 22, Pigot gained another position as he passed Tony Kanaan for the 12th spot. A handful of laps later, Pigot was given permission to burn extra fuel to make his way around Zach Veach before his next pit stop. On Lap 31, he made the pass for 11th. Pigot’s next pit stop came on Lap 35 for another set of sticker red tires. However, as he was getting back up to speed, he radioed in that he was experiencing an issue with the gearbox. He came into the pit lane where the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka crew discovered the car would not downshift and quickly replaced the gear stack. He rejoined the race on Lap 44, but it was short-lived. The replacement gear stack did not solve the problem and the No. 21 was taken behind the wall. Pigot would end the 2018 season with a 24th place finish.
- King made his second stop on Lap 34, also for another set of red tires. After his stop, he was up to the 14th position. The first and only full-course caution of the race came on Lap 43. King did not need to stop under the yellow and took the Lap 49 restart from 13th. He dropped to 15th as he had to avoid cars making contact around him, then fell to 16th as Veach bumped him off course. Race control ordered Veach to give back the position due to avoidable contact, giving King back the 15th spot.
- King brought the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet back into the pit lane for his final pit stop of the 2018 season on Lap 62. He still had a set of red tires remaining, which he was able to finish the race on. Even with saving fuel, he was able to make his way up back to 13th. He held off a late-race charge from Veach to keep the position until the checkered flag. The 12 positions he gained were the most of any driver in the field.
- The 2019 Verizon IndyCar Series season will begin on Sunday, March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
JORDAN KING (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “The first couple of laps were uneventful really, I kind of wanted something to happen but nothing really did! It was really kind of follow-the-leader, which was a bit rubbish. I managed to get past (Max) Chilton, which then kind of started my race really. I was able to catch the group in front of me, but I was still down at the back of the field. We were on blacks, everyone else was on reds. We short-stopped the first stint and managed to jump a load of people. We had a really good couple of stints on red to gain track position and made it up to midfield. It was tricky at that restart, we almost crashed into about six people, there was so much going on! There’s a couple of war wounds on the car but it was good fun. It was one of those races where you had to dig deep into your box of magic tricks and work out how to drive fast but save fuel, save tires but overtake people, save fuel but not get overtaken. I enjoyed my last few hours of the season! Finishing 13th doesn’t look great but considering where had had to come from, the very back around a circuit that’s hard to overtake, we did a pretty good job!”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “It was a very unfortunate way to end the season with a gearbox issues that took us out of the race today. We had a pretty solid first half going and were able to make our way up. We had passed a handful of cars and it was looking like another comfortable Top 10 for us. Unfortunately, we left a lot of points out there. We definitely learned a lot this year and we’ll be putting our heads together in the offseason to come back even stronger next year.”