Photo: American Flat Track/Ricky Fuentes

American Flat Track shows now part of NBCSN’s ‘Overdrive’ block

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American Flat Track shows on NBCSN will be part of the “Overdrive” block on Thursday nights, the series announced. Races from Turf Paradise and beyond take place every Thursday from here through October 12.

The release from the series is below:

This Thursday night, American Flat Track (AFT) shifts into primetime to serve as a cornerstone of NBCSN’s Overdrive, a new high-octane motorsports programming block slated to run weekly throughout the summer and fall.

Tune in Thursday, July 27, at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) for an hour of gripping flat track motorcycle racing as NBCSN provides coverage of the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle. Every American Flat Track show within the Overdrive block has been expertly produced with intense onboard camera footage, slow motion replays and behind-the-scenes feature content to showcase the 140mph+ tactical warfare and sub-tenth-of-a-second victory margins that define the sport.

Overdrive fans on Thursday night will be treated to an absolute barn burner from flag-to-flag in the AFT Singles Main Event, providing an early indication of the brilliance to come from AFT Singles standout Shayna Texter. The final half of the program goes in-depth with the Factory Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle squads, followed by an epic shootout between teammates Jared Mees, Brad Baker and defending champ, Bryan Smith, in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event.

Overdrive starts each Thursday at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on NBCSN and takes a deep dive into wide world of motorsports. The television premiere schedule for American Flat Track on NBCSN’s Overdrive is as follows:

Date Location Track Time (ET) Time (PT) Network
Thursday, July 27 Turf Paradise Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, August 3 Cal Expo Fairgrounds Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, August 10 Illinois State Fairgrounds Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, August 17 The Red Mile Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, August 24 Remington Park Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, August 31 Allen County Fairgrounds Half-Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 7 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Half-Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 7 Calistoga Speedway Half-Mile 11 PM 8 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 14 Buffalo Chip TT 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 14 Black Hills Speedway Half-Mile 11 PM 8 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 21 Peoria Motorcycle Club TT 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 21 Illinois State Fairgrounds Mile 11 PM 8 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 28 Williams Grove Speedway Half-Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 28 Texas Motor Speedway Half-Mile 11 PM 8 PM NBCSN
Thursday, October 12 Perris Auto Speedway Half-Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN

Spencer Pigot ready for full-season IndyCar effort with ECR

Photo: IndyCar
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After spending the last two years in a part-time role with Ed Carpenter Racing, contesting the road and street course races in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, Spencer Pigot now gets a long-awaited chance at a full-season effort in 2018.

Moving over to the No. 21 entry, which has featured ECR’s full-season driver since 2016, Pigot has seen slight differences in his off-season prep ahead of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

“We were one of the teams that got to a handful of days testing the aero kit, so I obviously did all the running on the road courses, but I was able to do a few laps on the ovals when Ed was testing. So, that wouldn’t have happened (if I was part-time still),” he told NBC Sports.

However, outside of that increase in testing and a little learning some new tracks – he has not raced at ISM Raceway, Gateway Motorsports Park, Pocono Raceway, or Iowa Speedway in an IndyCar – the changes to Pigot’s off-season program have not been dramatic.

“There’s definitely some things I’ll need to learn, but as far as off-season prep: nothing too dramatic, nothing too different.”

Pigot’s first full-season campaign saw its first official outing of the 2018 season last weekend during the open test at ISM Raceway. While he and the ECR team struggled to find speed much of the weekend – they languished outside of the top ten in the results of the first three sessions – things took a turn for the better during the final session of the weekend on Saturday night, when Pigot ended up ninth on the speed charts.

He ended up 14th in the combined results for the weekend, noting that he and the team still want to find more outright speed.

“I thought throughout the test that our average long run pace was okay, but we were still missing the outright pace to be where we need to be come qualifying time,” he revealed. “I think that we definitely made a step forward Saturday night and definitely have a much better idea of a direction we can head and go with when we go back.”

In terms of long-run practice, Pigot noted that tire degradation became much more prevalent, which made running with others cars around you somewhat of a challenge. Though, he emphasized that tire degradation could be beneficial for racing.

“Talking to some of the other guys, it seems a little bit harder to run behind people as the tires go off because the tires are degrading pretty quick with the lack of downforce as well,” he explained. “So, it’s going to be tricky, it’s going to be sliding around a little bit more than what guys have experienced in the past. But, I think everyone’s under the same kind of idea that it’s going to be better racing, and especially at (ISM Raceway) it should be exciting.”

Pigot did get some practice at overtaking at ISM and got a feel for what he may be able to expect when IndyCar returns in April for the Phoenix Grand Prix, and while he acknowledged it was difficult to judge during testing, he did feel like he could run around other cars without much of an issue.

“It’s not like a race when everyone comes in the pits at the same time and you’re all on similar tires, so it’s kind of hard to know exactly. But, I thought we were pretty good,” he detailed. “I thought I was able to run pretty close to guys in front of me and was able to make a few passes when other guys made mistakes or might have gone a little high.”

The test also served as Pigot’s first IndyCar venture on a short oval – he last ran on a short oval in 2015 during his Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship season.

“The corners definitely come up quick. There’s not much time to really relax or think about too much,” Pigot quipped when describing his first time on a short oval.

He continued, “You’ve got to concentrate pretty hard on being precise because the line there is very narrow so you have to make sure that you’re where the grip is at all points throughout the corner. And then, when everyone’s out there and you run in traffic, it’s just like you’re constantly in a corner, so it’s a little more difficult to get big runs and drafts off people. But I think it’ll definitely play into the hands of guys that have their cars set up well and can be easier on the tires.”

And in becoming the team’s full-time driver, Pigot is seeing a slight increase in his leadership role within the team, especially as it relates to testing and development, with Pigot doing the lion’s share of testing during the winter on road courses.

But, he also emphasized the oval prowess of teammate, and team owner, Ed Carpenter as something he will lean on when he ventures out on other ovals for the first time this year.

“Especially as we’re trying to learn this new aero kit, I was the one that pretty much did all the testing on the road and street courses. It was kind of me and the engineers trying to develop the car and work towards the setup that’s going to work for us. So, there’s definitely a little more responsibility in that. But, then on the ovals, obviously Ed’s there and he’s a great teammate to have and to learn from and bounce ideas off of. But, yeah, it’s definitely a more involved role within the team,” Pigot explained.

Pigot and ECR will test two more times, at Barber Motorsports Park and Sebring International Raceway, in the month of February prior to the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11.

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