PORTLAND, Ore. (August 31, 2019) – Race Preview
- After a frustrating time in practice, Spencer Pigot turned his weekend around when it counted in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portland. Pigot not only advanced to the second round of qualifications but earned a starting position inside the Top 10 for tomorrow’s 105-lap race. He will roll off 10th while teammate Ed Jones will start 23rd.
- Three practice sessions proceeded this afternoon’s qualifications. The warm up session, which included pit stop practice, gave drivers an additional half an hour of track time yesterday. Pigot completed 73 laps with his best speed of 120.942 miles per hour (mph) coming in Practice 2. Jones was just behind with a quick lap of 120.861 mph in Practice 1. Jones made 60 circuits of the 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course.
- The results from the practice session immediately before qualifying determine which drivers are assigned to which group. With odd-numbered finishing positions in Practice 3, Pigot and Jones were both assigned to Round 1, Group 2. The teammates began the 10-minute session on sticker black Firestone Firehawks before pitting for sticker reds. Jones turned in a top speed 121.450 mph, which landed him 12th in the group.
- Pigot, too, would turn his fastest lap at the end of the session. His speed of 122.433 mph would have him 6th at the checkered flag, earning a spot in Round 2. The fastest six from both rounds had another 10 minutes to set a fast lap. Pigot saved his best lap for last, coming in at 122.215 mph in the No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet. At the end of the session, he was 10th, which will give him his starting position for tomorrow.
- As road and street course driver of the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet, Jones most recently competed at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 28. A road course is home to his best finish of the year to date, 6th place in the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Following that event, he moved over to the No. 63 for the Indianapolis 500 and qualified a career-best fourth. He has reached the Firestone Fast 6 during qualifying on two occasions this year, the IMS road course and the streets of Toronto.
- Last week at WWT Raceway at Gateway, Pigot started his 50th race with Ed Carpenter Racing. Aside from Carpenter, Pigot is the team’s longest-tenured driver. This season, Pigot has earned career-best starting positions at each type of track the series races on – ovals, road courses and street circuits. He earned a spot on the front row of the Indianapolis 500, qualifying 3rd, in between teammates Carpenter and Jones. Pigot has added two 5th place finishes to his credit this year, one at the IMS road course and one at Iowa Speedway. With his result, he extended ECR’s streak of Top 5 finishes at Iowa to seven consecutive years.
- The Grand Prix of Portland will be the third Indy car race in three weeks. Team owner Carpenter has been in the No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet for the previous two events, oval races at Pocono Raceway and WWT Raceway. He finished 6th at Pocono, which matched his best result of the year to that point. Last Saturday night, he returned to the podium. A smart pit strategy shot him to the front of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 field and a fortunately-timed yellow kept him there. Carpenter used years of experience to hold off charges from competitors behind, then surged forward himself in the final five laps. He finished second by just .0399 of a second to give his team their best finish of the year in his last race of the season.
- The next time Pigot and Jones are on track, it will be for tomorrow’s 105-lap Grand Prix of Portland. NBC will begin it’s live broadcast at 3 p.m. ET (12 p.m. local). The green flag is scheduled for 3:42 p.m. ET.
ED JONES, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet, Qualified 23rd: “It is a disappointing qualifying result, for sure. We had expected to be much higher up and it’s surprising how it ended up. We will definitely have our work out for us tomorrow, but hopefully we can have a good strategy and get back towards the other end of the field.”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet, Qualified 10th: “We definitely made some improvements today and had our best session of the weekend during qualifying. All of the practice sessions were tough, but it’s encouraging we moved in the right direction when it counted. We still have a few things we want to improve on and get better at, but overall we are pleased with where we will be starting.”