— Afternoon Session Speeds —
— Afternoon Session Speeds —
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(SPEEDWAY, Ind.) January 17, 2016 – Ed Carpenter Racing announced today that Spencer Pigot will retain his duties as road & street course driver for the No. 20 Chevrolet for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. After joining ECR partway through 2016 in the same role, Pigot will be behind the wheel of the No. 20 at non-oval events for the entire 2017 season. The only owner/driver in the series, Ed Carpenter, will continue to pilot the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet at all oval races.
“I’m very excited to be staying with Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2017 season,” Pigot stated. “It’s a great feeling to know that I have a secure ride for all of the road and street course races so we can start preparing for the season now. I can’t thank everyone at ECR, P1 Management and Rising Star Racing enough for their help getting this deal done.”
The 23-year-old from Orlando, Fla. graduated to the Verizon IndyCar Series last season after winning the 2015 Indy Lights championship. The title came with a guaranteed three-race IndyCar program, which Pigot ran in a Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda. Following the Indianapolis 500, Pigot transitioned to the Chevrolet-powered ECR team.
Pigot competed in the remaining seven road and street course events for ECR, scoring two Top 10 finishes along the way. In only his second event weekend in the No. 20, his ninth-place finish at Road America was the highest of all rookies. A career-best finish of 7th came at Mid-Ohio, where he was also the top-finishing ECR car. He took the checkered flag in nine out of ten races his rookie year, his streak broken only at the season finale when a mechanical issue sidelined him from competition. Pigot worked on improving from his qualifying attempts each weekend, gaining an average of six positions in every race he finished.
“I learned a lot in my rookie year and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to build on that experience. I know I have the team around me to fight at the front and that’s what we’ll be trying to do in 2017,” said Pigot.
Team owner Carpenter is looking forward to sharing the No. 20 with Pigot. “We are happy to have Spencer back. It was a challenging situation for him to step into the team last year mid-season as a rookie. We believe that Spencer has the potential to be a contender in this sport and we will continue to focus on maximizing that potential,” remarked Carpenter. “It is great to have some offseason left to allow us to continue that development before the season kicks off. We are anticipating a strong sophomore campaign from Spencer.”
In his second season in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Pigot will drive all 11 road and street course events alongside JR Hildebrand, full-time driver of ECR’s No. 21 Chevrolet. Since 2014, the No. 20 has been split between Carpenter on the ovals and a second driver for the road and street races. Pigot is the first driver to have the road and street course seat of the No. 20 for a second year.
As the winningest driver in the Mazda Road to Indy, Pigot earned four scholarships from Mazda to continue his career’s momentum towards the Verizon IndyCar Series. In five years, he won four championships and 24 races in USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. Pigot is now part of a very select group of young open-wheel drivers aligned with Rising Star Racing, an organization whose mission is to ensure the most deserving drivers get the opportunities they have earned by matching them with corporate sponsors. Pigot is represented by P1 Management, LLC, who worked with RSR to finalize the agreement with Ed Carpenter Racing.
Barry Pigot, Managing Member of P1 Management commented, “Today’s announcement that Spencer is continuing to drive for Ed Carpenter Racing in the 2017 Verizon Indy Car Series is an exciting day for all of us at P1 Management and Rising Star Racing. Thanks to Art Wilmes, Drew Coomes, Ed Carpenter and Floyd Robinson who have worked so hard to make this happen. P1 Management is proud to continue its major role in managing and securing funding for Spencer’s career as it has done since 2009.”
Pigot will be in the No. 20 for the first time this year when he joins Hildebrand for a test at Sonoma Raceway on February 7. Prior to climbing back in an Indy car, Pigot will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 28 and 29 with Mazda Racing. The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season will open in St. Petersburg, Fla. on March 12.
After joining ECR after the 2016 Indianapolis 500, Pigot will be behind the wheel of the No. 20 Chevrolet at all road and street course events for the entirety of the 2017 season.
Since 2014, the No. 20 has been split between Carpenter on the ovals and a second driver for the road and street races. Pigot is the first driver to have the road and street course seat of the No. 20 for a second year.
(SPEEDWAY, Ind.) November 4, 2016 – After serving as an integral part of the Ed Carpenter Racing organization over the past three years during the Month of May, JR Hildebrand will return to full-time Indy car competition in 2017. The 28-year-old has joined ECR as the driver of the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet for the entirety of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
“Honestly, I just couldn’t be more ready to get started!” stated Hildebrand. “I’ve been close to, but still outside of, this role for long enough to really understand and embrace the opportunity to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time.”
Hildebrand continued, “The relationship I’ve had with Ed Carpenter and ECR honed my determination to get back in the seat because of how confident I feel in what we could do together. Now, I’m here to make it happen. I feel like I’ve got something to prove and can’t think of a better place to do it.”
The Sausalito, Calif. native began karting at age 14. After winning the 2009 Indy Lights championship, Hildebrand raced full-time for Panther Racing in 2011 & 2012. Hildebrand joined Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2014 Indianapolis 500, the first time the team expanded to two cars. In his only race of the year, Hildebrand finished 10th. He returned in 2015, running both the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500. His 8th place finish in the 500 was the best of ECR’s 3-car effort.
ECR brought Hildebrand in for both races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2016, where he finished 6th in the Indianapolis 500 – his best result since a runner-up in his rookie year of 2011. When Josef Newgarden was injured during the race at Texas Motor Speedway in June, Hildebrand instantly stepped into assume testing duties of the No. 21 throughout the summer. One week after Hildebrand refined the setup of the car testing at Iowa Speedway, Newgarden won after leading 282 of 300 laps.
Team owner Ed Carpenter remarked, “We first started talking about this in 2013 and the timing has just now worked to give JR an opportunity to show what he can do with a full-time ride. The job that he has done for the team each time we have put him in a car the past three years has proven to us that he is the right man for the job.”
“Whether it has been his role with the team during the past three 500s or the testing he has done for us over the past two years, he consistently shows he deserves a full-time opportunity,” Carpenter declared. “I am confident that JR will shine in the 21 car and that ECR will continue to post the results we have grown to expect.”
Formed in late 2011, ECR entered the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time in 2012. Over the past five seasons, ECR has scored seven wins. The team has proven its versatility by winning on each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. Carpenter captured back-to-back pole positions at the 2013 and 2014 Indianapolis 500s and Newgarden started in the middle of the front row in 2016. The Speedway, Ind.-based team has 21 Top 5 finishes to date, 15 of which have been podiums.
Outside of racing, Hildebrand has a passion for using motorsports to inspire students in STEM subject areas, recently working on a virtual reality project to create Indy car-focused educational programming. In early 2016, Stanford University appointed Hildebrand as an adjunct lecturer, where he primarily works with the Stanford Revs Program developing autonomous vehicle technology. Hildebrand was accepted into MIT out of high school, but deferred admission to pursue a career as a professional racecar driver. Carpenter’s call offering the No. 21 seat was the perfect wedding gift for Hildebrand, who married longtime girlfriend Kristin Paine on October 23. The newlyweds reside in Boulder, Colo.
Hildebrand will be joined by Carpenter, the only owner/driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series, during the six oval races next year. Carpenter will continue to drive the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra-Premium Vodka Chevrolet on ovals while the road and street course program for the car is still under consideration. The 2017 season will open on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. on March 12.