Carpenter Quickest On Day 1 Of Indy Qualifying

Ed Carpenter. [Andy Clary Photo]

Ed Carpenter. [Andy Clary Photo]

– Indianapolis 500 field set on Saturday; Sunday is pole day
– Bourdais injured

By: Joe Jennings

INDIANAPOLIS – Qualifications for the world-renowned Indianapolis 500 puts an emphasis on speed and those that waited out a five-hour rain delay got their money’s worth. In total, 31 cars completed the 10-mile timed run with Ed Carpenter leading the way with a speed of 230.468 miles per hour.

“I am a little surprised, although I thought I had a good car,” Carpenter said. “My biggest concern was for the speed to fall off. It is a credit to the team, as they did all the work.”

The Indiana native drives the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing.

Today’s qualifications locked in the nine fastest drivers for Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout with the top speedster driving away with the coveted pole for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.

Trailing Carpenter in speed were Takuma Sato, Scott Dixon, J. R. Hildebrand, 2016 winner Alexander Rossi, Will Power, F1 stalwart Fernando Alonso, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti.

Commented Alonso, “Today was good for us but not perfect. Today was all about being in the Fast Nine, and we hope to make some changes to make it better for tomorrow.”

Three Chevrolets and six Hondas comprise the top nine cars.

One terrifying accident cast a pall over the day when Sebastien Bourdais plowed into a wall at high speed, turning over and briefly catching fire before coming to a stop right-side up. The safety team was at his side within 30 seconds. They carefully removed him from his demolished Dale Coyne Racing Honda and transported him to Methodist Hospital where he was said to be alert and awake while awaiting medical evaluation.

Practicing fast throughout the week, Bourdais was thought to be a pole contender.

The all-important qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 are done over two days with the first one, Saturday, used to set the 33-car starting field and locks in the nine fastest drivers that will shoot for the prestigious pole position on Sunday. The latter speed exercise is called the Fast Nine Shootout.

Sunday is special in that it sets the starting order for the 500 with all of Saturday’s times erased. All entries must make another four-lap attempt to determine their position. For this effort, the field is split into two groups.

Group 1 determines starting positions 10 to 33. Group 2 includes Saturday’s nine fastest drivers that are giving it their all while vying for their starting position in the first three rows.

By schedule, the Fast Nine Shootout takes place on Sunday between 5 and 5:45 p.m. ET.

Schedules have flexibility built-in as rain often occurs during May’s 500 activities, and if by habit, it did so. Saturday’s qualifications were to get underway at 11 a.m., but drenching rain and fierce thunderstorms delayed the start until 4 p.m.

Between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., 31 cars qualified with only Bourdais and Zach Veach not doing so. Veach is expected to be on the track on Sunday.

Indianapolis 500 Day 1 qualifying
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Results of first-day qualifying Saturday for the 101st Indianapolis 500 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with rank, car number in parentheses, driver, aero kit- engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 02:36.2036 (230.468)
2. (26) Takuma Sato, Honda, 02:36.2621 (230.382)
3. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 02:36.2953 (230.333)
4. (21) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 02:36.3822 (230.205)
5. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 02:36.4208 (230.148)
6. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 02:36.4727 (230.072)
7. (29) Fernando Alonso, Honda, 02:36.4985 (230.034)
8. (10) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 02:36.5170 (230.007)
9. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 02:36.5737 (229.924)
10. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 02:36.7147 (229.717)
11. (83) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 02:36.7173 (229.713)
12. (8) Max Chilton, Honda, 02:36.7700 (229.636)
13. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 02:36.8405 (229.533)
14. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 02:36.9382 (229.390)
15. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 02:37.0562 (229.217)
16. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 02:37.3183 (228.835)
17. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 02:37.4139 (228.696)
18. (22) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 02:37.4495 (228.645)
19. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 02:37.5097 (228.557)
20. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 02:37.6232 (228.393)
21. (24) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 02:37.9342 (227.943)
22. (77) Jay Howard, Honda, 02:37.9965 (227.853)
23. (14) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 02:38.2850 (227.438)
24. (16) Oriol Servia, Honda, 02:38.4856 (227.150)
25. (50) Jack Harvey, Honda, 02:38.6641 (226.894)
26. (88) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 02:38.6779 (226.875)
27. (4) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 02:39.3539 (225.912)
28. (17) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 02:39.4225 (225.815)
29. (11) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 02:40.9798 (223.631)
30. (44) Buddy Lazier, Chevrolet, 02:42.5820 (221.427)
31. (63) Pippa Mann, Honda, 02:44.1724 (219.282)

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