- For the third time in five years, the only owner/driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series field will start on the front row for the Indianapolis 500. Ed Carpenter will start 2nd after improving his qualifying speed over one mile per hour from yesterday to today. He has earned a starting position in the middle of the front row for next Sunday’s101st Running. Teammate JR Hildebrand was the second-fastest Chevrolet today and will start in 6th on the outside of Row 2, the best starting position of his Indy 500 career.
- Keeping with the same strategy as yesterday, Ed Carpenter Racing elected to sit out the practice session prior to qualifications as the team felt confident in their qualifying plan. The fastest nine drivers from yesterday’s Day 1 qualifications were locked into the field and advanced to today’s Fast Nine Shootout, including both Carpenter and Hildebrand. Carpenter was the fastest driver yesterday with a four-lap average of 230.468 miles per hour. Hildebrand was 4th with a speed of 230.205 miles per hour.
- After positions 10-33 were set in an earlier qualification session today, the Fast Nine Shootout began at 5 p.m. ET. Drivers in the Fast Nine had to make one four-lap attempt, in order based on slowest to fastest from yesterday’s qualifying times. Hildebrand was 6th in line and Carpenter would roll out 9th.
- Hildebrand took to the 2.5-mile oval in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet. He set down laps of 231.529, 231.010, 230.941 and 230.081, giving him a four-lap average of 230.889 miles per hour. After his run, he was provisionally 3rd with three cars left to go.
- As the fastest driver from Saturday, Carpenter was awarded the luxury of being the last car to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. The hometown favorite set four laps of 232.180, 231.912, 231.582, and 230.985 with an average speed of 231.664 miles per hour. Though he was over a mile an hour faster than yesterday’s attempt in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, he couldn’t reach Scott Dixon’s pole winning speed of 231.664 miles per hour.
- Carpenter’s front-row start will be his third in the past five years. He won back-to-back pole positions for the Indianapolis 500 in 2013 and 2014. He will start in the middle of the front row between 2008 Indy 500 winner Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi of Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian.
- Hildebrand will start the highest he ever has at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he will roll off 6th in next Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. He will be joined on the second row by Takuma Sato and Fernando Alonso, also from the Andretti Autosport camp.
- Carpenter and Hildebrand will hit the track again tomorrow for three and a half more hours of practice before embarking on three days of media and promotional activities. Final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place on Friday, May 26 during Carb Day festivities.
- The 101st Running of the Indianapolis will commence at 11 a.m. ET on ABC with the green flag scheduled to fall at 12:21 p.m.
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet), Qualified 2nd: “It was actually a better run than I thought! We had a little more balance than JR (Hildebrand) going into it. I was flat, that’s all she had! If we trimmed any more, we would have started slowing down. I’m content. It would have been fun to have had a third pole, but at the same time, to be middle of the front row with a pair of 500 champions beside me is good. Hopefully, I can convert the front row to a win come next week. The speeds this year are awesome! Driving cars fast around here is what this place is all about. I’m excited to see what the 2018 car will do. You hear the crowds when you put a big number up, I get just as excited as they do! I think it’s awesome we’re pushing the speeds back up and I hope it continues.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet), Qualified 6th: “Our run was good! I felt like we got almost as much out of it as we could. I’m very happy for the ECR guys to be running the Preferred Freezer Services car again this year. It’s our best starting position this year in what has been a challenging couple of days. I’m also excited for the team to be able to put two cars in the top six. Personally, we could have been a spot or two better with a better fourth lap, but we’re starting on the outside of the second row and it’s a place I think we can compete and win the race from. I’m really looking forward to the race –the statistics say today doesn’t really matter, but it’s always nice to be up towards the front.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!