Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet rookie Jordan King said he was happy with qualifying fourth for his first ever IndyCar race, but says he could have been even faster.
The Briton who shares the #20 car with team owner Ed Carpenter, topped Group 1 in the first segment of qualifying with a 60.0476 lap of the 1.8-mile St. Petersburg course that eclipsed Will Power’s track record from 2016.
King was then fourth in Q2, where all lap times were half a second off peak potential as drizzle arrived; in Q3, which started wet but dried, he wound up fourth – beaten only by fellow rookies Robert Wickens (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) and Matheus Leist (AJ Foyt Racing), and seven-time St. Pete polesitter Will Power (Team Penske).
“It’s good, but I still think we should have been a bit quicker!” said King. “It was quite slippery at Turn 1, but I found quite a good way around there.
“Actually, at the back of the circuit, it was reasonably dry. Unfortunately, I almost went off at Turn 10 on my first ‘push’ lap, so I came into there on my last lap a little bit tentative and looking at the times. That was the difference.
“But fourth – I can’t complain! It’s all gone well, we’ve made some pretty good progress for my first time so I can’t grumble too much. But when there was potential to be a bit higher up, you can’t help as a racing driver to want a bit more!”
King who will start in the row ahead of two Indy 500 winners, Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay, didn’t want to go into specifics regarding potential results in the race.
“I’m trying not to put too much expectation on tomorrow,” he said. “We’ve got a good car. If I do my job I’m sure the rest of it will unfold quite nicely.”
Pigot unhappy with messy session
Carpenter’s fulltimer, Spencer Pigot, was less happy with his session which saw him eliminated at the Q1 stage, after Graham Rahal spun and brought out the red flags, leaving hardly any time for the remaining runners to improve.
Pigot didn’t publicly complain about Marco Andretti who lost his two best laps for interference in Pigot’s qualifying session, but instead blamed himself and circumstances for his 16th grid slot.
"It was a messy session there with the red flag, then trying to find a gap to get a good lap in,” he commented. “I made a few little mistakes; one area, I accidentally upshifted twice when I should have only done once, and that cost us.
“Overall, I am just frustrated. Hopefully we can get the Autogeek car back up front tomorrow where we need to be.”