For the third time in his career, Ed Carpenter has earned pole position for the Indianapolis 500.
After witnessing the heartbreak of Bump Day yesterday with James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann, we saw the joy and excitement today for Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ed joins Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, Tom Sneva, Arie Luyendyk, and Scott Dixon as three-time Indy 500 pole winners.
Joining Carpenter on the front row are Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. Row 2 belongs to Josef Newgarden, Sebastien Bourdais, and Spencer Pigot. Row 3 features plenty of star power with Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, and Scott Dixon. These were the nine drivers that competed for the top spot.
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Results
Carpenter was the second-to-last driver to qualify, and posted a four-lap average of 229.618 mph. His first lap was above 230 mph, and Castroneves was unable to top the hometown favorite. It was a fantastic day for Ed Carpenter Racing, with Ed on the pole, Pigot starting in 6th, and Danica 7th in the final start of her racing career.
There are a host of drivers starting outside of the first three rows that are capable of winning this race. It starts with the driver starting in 10th place, the 2013 Indy 500 winner, Tony Kanaan. Both he and teammate Matheus Leist have been incredibly fast all month, and they will be factors on Sunday. The other driver in Row 4 is Marco Andretti, who has also been consistently very quick. Five of the last six Indy 500 winners have started outside of the top ten.
Row 5 featured a pair of surprises, with Rookie Zachary Claman De Melo, and Charlie Kimball. The 2014 race winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, sits in between them. Defending race winner Takuma Sato led the way for RLL Racing, and will start in the inside of Row 6 on Sunday. He is joined by Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser, and SPM driver Robert Wickens.
James Davison crashed on Friday, and was the last car in the field on Saturday. Today, he qualified in 19th position for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. He is joined by Max Chilton and Carlos Munoz. Behind them will be Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves, Andretti’s Stefan Wilson, and Sage Karam with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
The final two rows will have some big names. Ed Jones finished third in the race last year, but will start from 29th position next Sunday. Graham Rahal has had a frustrating weekend, and starts in 30th, his worst starting position in his 11 Indy 500 starts. Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indy 500 winner, barely missed the Fast Nine on Saturday, settling for 10th fastest. Today though, the car didn’t handle well, and he will start 32nd. Jack Harvey and Conor Daly join Rossi on the last row.
Practice resumes tomorrow (12:30 to 4 PM) in what has become one of the wildest practice sessions of the month. With the 33 starting positions settled, teams and drivers will now put their focus on setting up the car in race trim. There will be a lot of running in traffic, and some anxious moments as the drivers aim to get the cars dialed in for the big race. After tomorrow, the cars will not hit the track again until Carb Day on Friday.