INDIANAPOLIS – Heading into the final minute of the first practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, the quickest two Chevrolet drivers belonged not to Team Penske, but rather to Ed Carpenter Racing. See, Penske has won in each of the last four years in the INDYCAR Grand Prix. They once again were the favorites to win the 85 Lap race on Saturday. But, here ECR was with the top speed among the bowties.
Then, in the second session, ECR did lead the Chevrolet camp in going 3-10 on the speed chart. In qualifying, they put both cars in the second round and even saw Ed Jones make the Fast Six.
Jones, qualified his No. 20 Chevrolet in fifth for Saturday’s race. Spencer Pigot who was second and third respectively in practice on Friday will start 12th in his No. 21 Chevrolet.
ECR looks the part to play spoiler.
But, in order to get to this speed, they were humbled. Jones enlightened us in his press conference that the team acknowledged their faults this offseason and went back to what worked last year.
It’s paying off.
“Yeah, I feel like in kind of a way that we kind of went the wrong direction over the winter, and Long Beach was like the last time where we realized we got to revert back to some older stuff,” said Jones. “Last year they were pretty competitive here, so we did that, and straightaway we got a lot better. So I think that’s kind of been the case. We’ve just got to maybe look at bit more what we need to do for the next few road and street course races, but fortunately we have the oval coming up next, and we know how strong they are there. Really looking forward.”
Jones is right. All three ECR cars made the Fast Nine in Indy 500 qualifying last year. If they can salvage dual top 10 finishes on Saturday, they’ll have a ton of momentum for the ‘500.