Last-lap contact between Mikhail Aleshin and JR Hildebrand sent Hildebrand’s No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet into the Turn 1 tire barrier. According to INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows, the Ed Carpenter Racing driver sustained a broken bone in his left hand, was not cleared to drive and will be re-evaluated later this week. Aleshin was penalized by INDYCAR for blocking and moved back one position in the final results to 12th place.
“I was making a move on Mikhail Aleshin and I could tell he was struggling,” Hildebrand said. “I was out of push-to-pass so I was trying to make a proper, full-out pass down the front straightaway. He had been starting to move over, not a major blocking maneuver but enough to assert his line. He hit the brake a lot earlier than I was expecting and I ended up running into the back of him.
“In doing so, it ripped the steering wheel from my hand and I ended up tweaking (the hand). … Hopefully, I can get back to it here before the next race.”
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Spencer Pigot gave a glimpse of the possibilities during his Verizon IndyCar Series rookie season in 2016. Team owner Ed Carpenter liked what he saw and announced today that Ed Carpenter Racing is bringing back the 23-year-old Floridian to drive the No. 20 Chevrolet at all road- and street-course events this year.
Pigot, the 2015 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion and winner of more Mazda Road to Indy developmental series races than anyone (24), competed in 10 Verizon IndyCar Series races last season, split between Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and ECR. He drove in the season’s final seven road/street races for ECR, posting best finishes of seventh at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and ninth at Road America.
This year, Pigot will be behind the wheel of the No. 20 Chevy for the 11 road/street events on the calendar. Team owner Carpenter returns to pilot the car in the six oval races.
“I’m very excited to be staying with Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2017 season,” Pigot said. “It’s a great feeling to know that I have a secure ride for all of the road- and street-course races so we can start preparing for the season now. I can’t thank everyone at ECR, P1 Management and Rising Star Racing enough for their help getting this deal done.”
The team owner is glad to have continuity with Pigot returning.
“We are happy to have Spencer back,” Carpenter said. “It was a challenging situation for him to step into the team last year mid-season as a rookie. We believe that Spencer has the potential to be a contender in this sport and we will continue to focus on maximizing that potential.
“It is great to have some offseason left to allow us to continue that development before the season kicks off. We are anticipating a strong sophomore campaign from Spencer.”
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