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Rookie Spencer Pigot sustains first hit of the month in Indy practice

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INDIANAPOLIS – Rookie Spencer Pigot, the reigning Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion, was the first driver to hit the wall in this year’s practice for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

The driver of the No. 16 RLL/Mi-Jack/Manitowoc Honda lost control nearing the exit of Turn 1 and spun around late in the corner. The full spin around hit the left side of the car pretty hard just before 2 p.m.

While the car tilted up a bit on the left side, it did not appear under threat of going airborne on initial viewing.

This marks the first accident since the introduction of the domed skids on the underbody of the chassis, and the new rear wing beam flaps in the rear wheel pod assembly.

Pigot is out of the car, and was checked, cleared and released following a trip to the infield care center.

His car is done for the day. While the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team, initially sought to repair the primary car before any possible switch to a backup chassis, the primary car has now been tubbed and they’ll have to build up a new car.

“I feel fine physically. Just feel bad for the guys,” he said. “Not really sure what happened there. Before I knew it I was facing backwards. Difficult day before that. I thought we were getting through our plan. It’s a pretty big setback. Hopefully we can get back out in the next day or two.

“The car was feeling pretty good. Car was making improvements. Everything was feeing good. Just not sure what happened. We’ll have to look and see what caused the spin.

“It’s a big setback for me and the team. It’s not what you want to happen on the second day.”

Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 Shootout

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Michael Carter was selected as the winner of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.

Carter was one of four drivers who competed for the honor and a $100,000 scholarship that went along with it. Matthew Dirks, Hannah Grisham and Loni Unser also competed.

With the scholarship, Carter will compete in the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.

“What a journey this has been,” said Carter in a press release. “The reason I started racing a Mazda was because of the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. It was our one single goal all along and to finally accomplish that is surreal. The process begins next week of getting ready for next season, for the series test at Barber, and to put together a good season in the Global MX-5 Cup.”

Carter was invited to the Shootout largely because of his 2018 performance in SCCA. He finished second in the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Points Championship, won the Spec Miata Challenge and won in Spec Miata at the American Road Race of Champions.

The 18-year-old Carter had his eye on the Road to Mazda early.

“Each year, it is exciting to see the next batch of talent that is in the pipeline,” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports. “I heard something from Michael and his father that really hit a chord with me which was that they built a Spec Miata with the sole purpose of going up the Mazda Road to 24 ladder.

That really speaks to the challenger spirit at Mazda, to why we have the Shootout, and to the family that we have at Mazda. Michael is the driver today who walks away with the scholarship, but we had four families come together here who have all gone racing together. For all of us at Mazda, it’s very rewarding to give these families a chance to go racing together. We look forward to watching Michael take the next step in his career in next season’s Global MX-5 Cup.”