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IndyCar 2017 driver review: Spencer Pigot

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. Spencer Pigot enjoyed a solid sophomore season, running in all road and street course races for Ed Carpenter Racing from the start of the year and helped longtime friend and team owner Ricardo Juncos fulfill his dream of making his first Indianapolis 500 start.

Spencer Pigot, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, No. 11 Juncos Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 21st place (10 starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 17th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 20.6 Avg. Start, 15.7 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 20th place (12 starts), Best Finish 8th, Best Start 13th, 0 Top-5, 3 Top-10, 8 Laps Led, 17.1 Avg. Start, 15.0 Avg. Finish

Stats won’t tell the story of Spencer Pigot’s year-to-year improvement and growth in confidence, which was enough to move the Rising Star Racing-supported driver into a full-time seat with Ed Carpenter Racing in 2018. The bottom line was many of his results could have been better save for some lucky breaks.

Between a brake rotor igniting (St. Petersburg), his engine misfiring (Indianapolis road course), suspension repairs (Road America), and a cut tire (Toronto), four potential fifth to eighth place results went begging. It was unfortunate his best result of the year was eighth when he ran regularly in the top five or six before the issues struck in whatever roundabout way they could. His passing ability and deft touch on the brakes was easy to take note of.

His one tough weekend this year came after Pigot made a one-race detour to his Mazda Road to Indy team, Juncos Racing, for its Indianapolis 500 debut. He had a heavy impact exiting Turn 2 in practice, but rebounded by qualifying in a repaired car without any further practice, then held on to the otherwise woefully ill-handling car in the race.

The only real critique you could say of him is that his qualifying needs to be better, which is something Pigot freely admits. He still is yet to break out of Q1 in 20 road or street course race attempts, but he did improve his usual qualifying position this season. Crucially, he out-qualified JR Hildebrand in seven of the 10 races they were teammates this season, as Hildebrand’s offbeat setup choices rarely paid dividends. His higher upside was evident throughout the year, and he should only be better in 2018 following an offseason of testing.

Formula E: Vergne outlasts di Grassi for Punta del Este victory

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Saturday’s Punta del Este ePrix did not disappoint, with Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi engaging in a thrilling battle throughout the entire race.

Vergne led the way from the pole, having been promoted up the grid after original pole sitter di Grassi was ruled to have cut a chicane during his pole lap, but di Grassi was right on the back wing of Vergne the entire way and made several attempts to get by.

The intense battle between the two, which saw them nearly lock Vergne’s rear wing with di Grassi’s front nose, stayed remarkably clean for the most part, and Vergne was able to hold off all of di Grassi’s advances, a few of which can be viewed below, to take the win.

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was also on the charge, the British driver coming from ninth on the grid to take third.

Full race results can be viewed here. The victory sees Vergne extend his points lead over Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who finished fifth, to 30 points, with Vergne on 109 markers and Rosenqvist on 79.

Bird sits third with 76 points, respectively.