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2017 Indy 500: Newgarden crash stops Ed Carpenter Racing third car

Ed Carpenter Racing will not field a third IndyCar entry in May's Indianapolis 500, due in part to Josef Newgarden's Texas crash last year

The Chevrolet-powered outfit has run a third car in the race in the last two years, but will only field JR Hildebrand and owner Ed Carpenter in 2017.

That is set to leave Spencer Pigot, who contests the road and street-circuit races as part of a shared drive with Carpenter, on the sidelines.

Now with Penske, Newgarden crashed heavily during last June's Texas race that was ultimately postponed to August due to rain, and losing that Dallara chassis proved a hindrance to ECR's efforts to run three cars.

"We weren't able to put the right deal together for a third entry, because we'd have needed to buy another car, which now makes it pretty much impossible," Carpenter told Autosport.

"We had five cars up until [Newgarden's] accident at Texas last year.

"Now we're down to four, the idea of going into May with three entries and only one spare car doesn't make much sense, so buying another chassis would have been necessary.

"Plus the majority of people who we used to run the third car have gone elsewhere - understandably - and we're not going to run an extra car just to go through the motions.

"We'd want all three cars to be competitive otherwise it doesn't benefit the driver or the team as a whole."

Pigot made his Indy 500 debut last year with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, as part of his prize for winning the 2015 Indy Lights title, then switched to ECR for the rest of the season's road and street-course races.

While Carpenter classed Pigot as "the obvious choice" for the third car, the American believes his chances of being on the grid elsewhere are now slim.

"We're looking around, but don't have any money, so it doesn't look like I'll get a deal done," Pigot said.

"We'll see. There's still some time left."

Carpenter said he also held talks with Stefan Wilson, who raced for KV Racing at Indy last year in a one-off entry, but "couldn't put all the pieces of the deal together in time".

NEW AERO KIT WON'T HURT 2018 PROSPECTS

IndyCar's only team owner and driver, Carpenter does not expect the championship's 2018 switch to a new, universal aero kit to increase the cost of adding extra entries for the Indy 500.

"I don't think that's going to be a struggle," said Carpenter.

"For one thing, the kit is not going to be as big an investment as previously.

"And secondly, it's less about the bodywork, and more about having the chassis - that's the major cost."

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