- Two-time Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Ed Carpenter will get the opportunity to make a run at number three tomorrow after setting the fastest four-lap average in today’s first day of Indianapolis 500 qualifications. Carpenter’s four-lap average of 230.468 miles per hour shot him to the top of the scoring pylon and locked him into the Fast Nine shootout for the pole position tomorrow. Teammate, JR Hildebrand, will also make a run for the coveted first starting spot as he ended the day with the fourth-fastest four-lap average of 230.205 miles per hour.
- Qualifications were set to begin at 11 a.m. ET. but were placed on an indefinite delay as heavy rain rolled through Indianapolis. Skies cleared around 2 p.m. with the track opening for qualifying at 4 p.m. Because of the abbreviated day, multiple attempts were not permitted and each entry received only one guaranteed qualifying attempt.
- Carpenter was the 29th of 33 cars to qualify after last night’s blind draw set the qualification order. With the delays of the day, Carpenter did not hit the track in his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet until 6:35 p.m. With cooler conditions and cloud cover working in his favor, his first lap of 230.672 miles per hour rocketed him to the top of the time charts. Laps followed of 230.670, 230.278 and 230.254 for a four-lap average of 230.468 miles per hour.
- With only four cars left to qualify behind Carpenter, Hildebrand became his team owner’s biggest challenger for the top spot of today. Hildebrand’s No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet was tracking first after his first lap of 230.834 miles per hour, but dropped off slightly. His four-lap average came in at 230.205 MPH, fast enough for the fourth-fastest time of today.
- Times from today are erased going into tomorrow’s qualifications. Drivers in the Fast Nine Shootout must make one four-lap attempt, in order based on slowest to fastest from today’s qualifying time. Carpenter will be the final driver to make a run at the pole for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500.
- The first 75 minutes of Pole Day will be shown live on WatchESPN, beginning at 2:45 p.m. ABC will begin the live broadcast at 4 p.m. with continuing coverage on Watch ESPN.
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet): “It feels like 2013 right now – I wasn’t expecting that! I thought I could run a 230, but not four of them. Thanks to Chevrolet for giving me a good bullet and for making the best aero out here right now. I don’t know if we have much left! With my two previous poles, I wasn’t the fastest car but we had the best car over four laps. I think my little buddy Ryder (Carpenter, son) got us in there – I asked him to draw the number six yesterday and he drew sixty. I was like, “You’re close, you got the first number right!” I think he chose a favorable number today with the clouds and shade toward the end of the session – we’re running in similar conditions tomorrow afternoon as well, so we’ll see what happens.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet): “It was a super long day today – the teams and drivers just had to keep it together, considering we were late in the draw. We were fortunate to have track conditions improve a little bit – we were probably a little on-the-edge that run, so if we went earlier we probably would have been even more on the limit. The ambient temperature started to come down a little which slows us down, but the track temperature came down too which was a definite benefit compared to some of the earlier guys. We definitely benefited from that, but it’s the luck of the draw. It’s also great to get a few Chevys up towards the front of the grid for tomorrow’s Fast Nine, I’m really happy for everyone at Chevrolet and everyone at ECR – looking forward to tomorrow!”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK