Despite some questions raised during the early phases of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series silly season as to his prospects on the circuit, 2015 Cooper Tires Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot will indeed return to relieve team boss Ed Carpenter in the road and street circuit rounds this season.
Although Pigot started the 2016 campaign with only the guarantee of three races thanks to the bonus money he earned for winning the Indy Lights title, everything worked out. The Pasadena, California-native fared well enough in his trial effort for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to jump over to Ed Carpenter’s operation, allowing him to participate in 11 of the 16 Verizon IndyCar Series events.
While the returns in year one were far from earth shattering, Pigot did manage to make the finish in all but one of his appearances, while securing two top-ten efforts at Road America and Mid-Ohio respectively. The question now is whether Pigot can avoid the infamous sophomore slump and work towards his goal of becoming a full-time participant in the future.
The task on paper appears harsh at first glance, as for one he will not have the feedback from fellow young gun Josef Newgarden, who has joined Team Penske for 2017. He will also face a stiff challenge from teammate J.R. Hildebrand, who returns to the full circuit for the first time since 2013. Finally, in addition to ECR’s rivals in the Chevrolet camp, the expectation of a stiffer challenge from Honda’s fleet will further increase the degree of difficulty.
However, one must not forget the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Chevrolet has shown potential on more than just the oval tracks. Team boss Carpenter drove to fourth at Toronto with this entry in 2013 and the following year, road racing ace Mike Conway drove into the winner’s circle at both Long Beach and Baltimore.
For Spencer Pigot, year two on the premiere North American open-wheel circuit represents a chance to make a breakthrough effort and cement himself as one of the top American driving prospects in the years to come.
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