Spencer Pigot

LEXINGTON, Ohio — Spencer Pigot could have focused on the positive of a second consecutive top-10 finish, but he knew Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio could have produced a stronger result for Ed Carpenter Racing.

That’s why Pigot didn’t hide his disappointment as he walked down pit lane after finishing seventh in the No. 21 ECR Chevrolet. The car was quick in practice but not qualifying, hence the tempered mood about going from 13th to seventh in the race.

“I would have liked to have been a little higher up,” Pigot said. “Qualifying 13th kind of put us on the back foot. We had to try and overcome a lot of track position there. The guys did a really good job in pit lane with the strategy and the car was really good. The race went well, but I’m a little frustrated I wasn’t able to do a little bit better in qualifying.”

Pigot was fifth in the previous race at Iowa, tying his best result of this second full-time season with ECR. He is 12th in the points, two spots better than where he finished a year ago, but it’s fair to surmise that the 25-year-old driver aspires to achieve more.

So, too, does his boss.

“He’s right,” Carpenter said. “He had the fastest lap of the race today and he was up near the top for every session but qualifying. It’s hard to win races and be in the top five in this series when you start mid-pack. It’s just a matter of fact. When races go all green, it’s too strong. He knows he had car capable of much better than eighth, really what he had been if Josef (Newgarden) didn’t make a mistake (on the last lap). We’ve got to clean those things up when we do have a car capable of running for a win.

“He should be frustrated. I’m glad he was frustrated. But still it was a strong weekend for him.”

A year ago at this time, the buzz about Pigot pertained to his promising future. He had finished a career-best second at Iowa, the only podium of his career.

A year later, the expectation has shifted to delivering more on that promise.

“It’s time,” Carpenter said. “He was a rookie a long time ago. He knows he’s got to start getting it done in those situations. I don’t need to tell him. He does need to start delivering in moments in qualifying. There’s been plenty of times this year where we didn’t give him a car capable of that. The team did a really good job of giving him a car that was quick all weekend.

“I’m not slamming him. He knows. I’m still a huge believer in him. He just has to figure that out, to really unlock the potential that’s there.”

As Pigot closed the book on Mid-Ohio, he acknowledged that the last two races have been positive results. Now he needs to build on those.

“Yeah, definitely, it’s been nice to have a couple solid races, kind of fighting with the guys we feel we should be fighting with, after a pretty difficult run in the middle of the season,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep it going and continue to finish strong.”