Watkins Glen notes: Ed Carpenter Racing set for 100th race

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WATKINS GLEN, New York – Ed Carpenter Racing and Chevrolet will share in commemorating a milestone this weekend in the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen.

The race will mark the 100th in history for the Verizon IndyCar Series team and the 100th for Chevrolet since its 2012 return to the sport as an engine supplier.

In the 99 races leading to Sunday’s event at Watkins Glen International Chevrolet has been victorious two-thirds of the time (66 wins) and has captured the manufacturer championship each of the past five years. Chevy holds a 73-point advantage over Honda with two races remaining as it chases its sixth straight manufacturer title.

ECR has contributed seven wins since its inception – three by Josef Newgarden and two each from Mike Conway and owner/driver Carpenter, who takes pride in knowing that his is one of just two teams to remain in the Chevrolet family since 2012.

“It's rewarding to know that we hit a milestone like this,” Carpenter said. “Our team and Penske are the only two that have been with Chevy the whole time, so our milestone and Chevy's milestone is for sure common.

“It's something that I am proud of, to have been with Team Chevy from the start. It's been a good partnership that has grown and developed and gotten stronger over time. I think our two cultures align really well with their values and how we both view a partnership and how it should work. I hope we will continue to celebrate milestones together.”

ECR has fielded two fulltime cars in the Verizon IndyCar Series since merging efforts with the former Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in 2015. Spencer Pigot (starting 13th) and JR Hildebrand (starting 21st) will pilot the ECR entries in Sunday’s 60-lap race at Watkins Glen, both with Fuzzy’s Vodka sponsorship.

Leigh DiffeyDiffey doing ‘the double’ for NBCSN on Sunday

NBCSN lead announcer Leigh Diffey is pulling a broadcast double on Sunday, calling the action for the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix and the Verizon IndyCar Series’ INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen on the same day.

Diffey will anchor the F1 telecast from NBC Sports Group’s international broadcast center in Stamford, Connecticut, on Sunday morning. Then, he’ll hop on a private plane to deliver him to Watkins Glen in upstate New York in time for the Verizon IndyCar Series telecast at 1 p.m. ET.

It’s not the first time Diffey has done the double. Two years ago, he and F1 analyst Steve Matchett called the F1 Belgian Grand Prix from the studio and were then transported to Pocono Raceway to call the Verizon IndyCar series race.

“We know that it is doable,” Diffey said on a Thursday media teleconference promoting NBCSN’s tripleheader of motorsports coverage on Sunday that includes the NASCAR race that evening.

“However, it’s a pretty long day, considering that our morning start for F1 is at 3 a.m. when the wakeup call goes off. So it’s a long day, but it’s a really enjoyable day, and I feel really fortunate and really excited, to be honest, to be doing it again, given where both open-wheel series are with the titles up for grabs.”

In addition to the early wakeup call, Diffey placed extra emphasis on preparation headed into the race weekend.

I do the same preparation for whatever I’m calling. That’s divided up into lead-up preparation and then what I call in-the-moment, like in-the-weekend preparation, and then it all leads up to doing the race.

“You just have to compartmentalize. You’ve just got to take it, whether it be series at a time or event at a time, but you’ve got to make sure you’ve done it on the front end, the homework and the preparation on the front end. It’s just switching your brain at the time when it needs to be switched into which mode and which series.”

Hunter-Reay named to drive in Petit Le Mans

Verizon IndyCar Series veteran Ryan Hunter-Reay will return to the sports car team with which he co-drove to a runner-up finish at the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona for the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

The Andretti Autosport driver is joining brothers and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship fulltime drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor behind the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R for the 10-hour race on Oct. 7. The event comes three weeks after the conclusion of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Hunter-Reay shared the cockpit of the Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 prototype with Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli in scoring a solid second-place finish after leading 56 laps of the 2013 season-opening endurance marathon at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Wayne Taylor and his sons once again,” said Hunter-Reay, who has 33 career North American sports car starts with nine podium finishes, including an overall victory at the 2007 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Championship season finale at Tooele, Utah, and an LMP2 class victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2011. “Through our runner-up finish at the Daytona 24-hour and since then, I’ve formed a pretty close relationship with the team as a whole – Wayne, Jordan and Ricky.

“The team has done an incredible job this season with five wins and leading the championship from the first round at Daytona. My goal is to fit in seamlessly, contribute in any way possible but, most importantly, do whatever I can to help this group win the IMSA WeatherTech championship.”

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