Ed Carpenter Racing endured a mixed opening race of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Sunday where having started the race from 13th place on the grid, Spencer Pigot suffered a brake fire as he entered pit-road and the team were forced to change the outside rear brake rotor.
Pigot had made his way from 13th place to 5th place by the time that pit-stop came around and he lost 16 laps as the team worked on his car. On lap 71, Pigot retired from the race and speaking following the event he commented by saying:
The race was going really well! The Fuzzy’s Vodka guys did an awesome job preparing the car for the race and making a few adjustments for me. Our pace was really good and we were making a lot of passes and moving up. We gained almost all of our positions to move up to 5th by passing people which was cool. Then, we had the issue with the left rear brakes on our first stop. It’s unfortunate but at least we showed that we have good pace and we can race hard. I’m looking forward to doing more of that!
JR Hildebrand on his return to full-time Verizon IndyCar Series competition in the No.21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet started the race from 19th place and finished the event in 13th place and speaking following the race he commented by saying:
At the start, everything got all stacked up. I’m not sure if the front wing damage we had would have been a problem, but the left rear tire was going down and had to pit anyway. That was bummer, I think we would have ended up making up a couple of spots there and our strategy really wouldn’t have changed. After that stop, it forced us to commit to an alternative strategy and we were really just trying to play the game. We did a lot of fuel saving. For it going green almost the entire race, it was good to just get one under our belts. We were able to work on a lot of things and there were a lot of things we were able to learn. There were some times I think we could have gotten a little more out of it, managing situations where we were on transitions between stops. We ended up on the wrong end of the hustle coming out of the pits a couple of times, so that’s something that we’ll put some time in to problem solving. We had some brake issues and some other things going on, but the team did a great job persevering with some clean stops. Especially from where we started, that was really the goal today – make it to the end and make up positions where we could and get one in the books. We have a lot to look forward to in the next races.