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Fast Ed And Friends Spoil Penske Pole Pilfer

Ed Carpenter, polesitter for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500. © [Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media]

Ed Carpenter, polesitter for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500. © [Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media]

By Allan Brewer

There was a perfectly Fuzzy and dream-like result at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pole Day. Ed Carpenter posted an initial crowd-pleasing lap above 230mph on his way to eclipsing eight other drivers as fastest. He will lead the start of the great race from the inside of the three-abreast front row.

“That first lap blew my mind,” Carpenter said afterwards. “I never expected we would get a lap of 230.”

Carpenter wore a big smile as he pasted the “pole-winner” decal on the rear wing of his car, for the celebratory mood did not end there. All three of Ed Carpenter Racing’s cars will start from the front for Memorial Day’s Indy 500.

The far-forward starting positions should benefit Carpenter and his teammates Danica Patrick starting seventh and rookie Spencer Pigot starting sixth. Carpenter acknowledged that starting up front is critical to success with the current iteration of the IndyCar Dallara chassis.

“Moreso than previously, it will be beneficial to start up front,” he said. “The car feels best when it has clean air in front of it.”

Team Penske came armed to the teeth for the qualifying showdown. Though they controlled the pace right up until the end, they were no match for Carpenter & Co.

Simon Pagenaud was the best of the four Penske drivers, but even his first-rate effort failed to top Carpenter. “Everything went well, he said afterward. “We just didn’t have the 230 that Ed put down. Congratulations to them for such a great job.”

Helio Castroneves seemed the pick to take the pole away, but his opening qualifying lap was a full mile per hour slower than Carpenter.

“I was expecting the first lap to be a big one because even in practice we did about 229,” he confided. ”By the last lap I was literally hanging on.”

Earlier in the day, Tony Kanaan and Mattheus Leist brought great expectations back to A J Foyt Racing with excellently-played qualifying attempts, ending tenth and eleventh on the grid respectively.

Disheartening is the only way to describe Graham Rahal’s slide to the outside of row 10, and former 500 champion Alexander Rossi’s descent to the middle of the last row.

All that remains now are a brief post-qualifying practice session on Monday morning and the infamous Carb Day on Friday before the 102nd Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis 500 pole day qualifying results
INDIANAPOLIS – Results of qualifying Sunday for the 12nd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race presented by PennGrade Motor Oil Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with rank, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 2:36.7818 (229.618 mph)
2. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 2:37.3696 (228.761)
3. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 2:37.4757 (228.607)
4. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 2:37.6151 (228.405)
5. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 2:37.7965 (228.142)
6. (21) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 2:37.8208 (228.107)
7. (13) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 2:37.8326 (228.090)
8. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 2:37.9924 (227.859)
9. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 2:38.4076 (227.262)
10. (14) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 2:38.1278 (227.664)
11. (4) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 2:38.1922 (227.571)
12. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 2:38.3894 (227.288)
13. (19) Zachary Claman De Melo, Honda, 2:38.5908 (226.999)
14. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 2:38.7389 (226.788)
15. (23) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 2:38.8304 (226.657)
16. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 2:38.9003 (226.557)
17. (32) Kyle Kaiser, Chevrolet, 2:39.0119 (226.398)
18. (6) Robert Wickens, Honda, 2:39.0835 (226.296)
19. (33) James Davison, Chevrolet, 2:39.1128 (226.255)
20. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 2:39.1430 (226.212)
21. (29) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 2:39.2585 (226.048)
22. (88) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 2:39.2874 (226.007)
23. (25) Stefan Wilson, Honda, 2:39.3889 (225.863)
24. (24) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 2:39.4171 (225.823)
25. (26) Zach Veach, Honda, 2:39.4696 (225.748)
26. (64) Oriol Servia, Honda, 2:39.5044 (225.699)
27. (66) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 2:39.7032 (225.418)
28. (7) Jay Howard, Honda, 2:39.7245 (225.388)
29. (10) Ed Jones, Honda, 2:39.7433 (225.362)
30. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 2:39.7679 (225.327)
31. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 2:39.8193 (225.254)
32. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 2:40.0462 (224.935)
33. (17) Conor Daly, Honda, 2:40.4073 (224.429)

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Allan Brewer covers IndyCar and other racing series for RacingNation.com. Allan is a fixture at the race track, armed with keyboard and camera, eager to take you inside open-wheel sport where the news is being made. He comes to RacingNation.com with multiple professional awards from the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AWWRBA). He began his motorsports writing career at FastMachines.com; and solely published IndyProRacer.com and A1GP.com, two award-winning websites for open-wheel racing’s junior leagues, prior to becoming IndyCar correspondent at Motorsport.com. He has also covered Formula 1, NASCAR, Formula E, the Indy Lights Series and its predecessor Indy Pro Series, NHRA events and major auto shows. His major interest outside of competition is automotive technology and its application to the cars we drive every day on the public highways.