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Ed Carpenter wins pole for the 97th Indianapolis 500

May 18, 2013, 7:35 PM EDT

Ed Carpenter AP

Thrilling the hometown fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana native Ed Carpenter rocketed to the pole position for next weekend’s Indianapolis 500, becoming the first Hoosier since Pat O’Connor in 1957 to win the pole for The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Carpenter, who is the IZOD IndyCar Series’ sole owner/driver, was the fifth of the top nine qualifiers to make an attempt in the Fast Nine pole shootout. But his four-lap average of 228.762 miles per hour in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet was enough to keep him ahead of the entirety of both the Team Penske and Andretti Autosport driving stables.

“I knew we had a shot,” Carpenter told NBC Sports Network’s Marty Snider once he knew the pole was his. “I thought coming in that we had a chance to be either winning the pole or outside the Top 10 — this field is unbelievable. To be able to sit on pole for this race, it’s a really big start to a dream come true…This is just the first part of what we’re here to do.”

“To be a single-car team and win this ‘Chevy shootout’ as I’ll call it, fighting with Penske and Andretti guys — that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. But for this team to put in the hard work and give me what I needed to put it on pole is great. I think a whole lot of prayers went into this, too. Every qualifying run I did today, I was praying the whole way and I was praying when I got done.”

Penske’s Will Power, who had posted an average of 228.844 mph before the Fast Nine, was the last man out and his first lap clocked in at over 229 mph (faster than Carpenter’s average). But even though he was going as fast as 236 mph through the Turn 1 trap during his run, his subsequent laps were not enough to keep him at the top and he was forced to settle for sixth.

In addition to Carpenter, the front row for the 97th running of the “500” will also feature Colombian rookie Carlos Munoz, who easily had the most nerve-wracking run of the Fast Nine but still qualified second with an average of 228.342 mph. On the outside of that row will be Marco Andretti, who posted an average of 228.261 mph.

The second row will feature Venezuela’s E.J. Viso, another rookie in A.J. Allmendinger, and Power. Row 3 will have plenty of star wattage, with reigning series champ Ryan Hunter-Reay, three-time “500” winner Helio Castroneves, and the series’ most recent race winner, James Hinchcliffe.

  1. drylake - May 18, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Not happy about this. Carpenter is the last of the IRL oval dinosaurs. He’s lost on road and street courses. All that FTG money paid off this time. I want a balanced series. Not a series where an oval cherry picker can grab the attention and excel at nothing else.

    • ditto65 - May 18, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with an oval “dinosaur” winning the pole – it actually makes sense. And it pays homage to Indy cars roots, since the sport started on ovals and belongs on ovals.

      I appreciate road courses, but also enjoy racing as it was meant – on purpose built oval tracks.

      • icemanpjn - May 19, 2013 at 3:58 AM

        I’m not sure how you figure racing was meant for ovals, and ovals are an amateur race venue. Kids and retirees race on back-country ovals all the time because the only requirement for racing around an oval is a desire to go fast. Road courses put high demand on a driver’s mastery of pushing a car to the limits of what it can do, in all aspects of vehicle performance. Ovals also are not the only purpose-built race facilities, as there are heaps of road courses that serve only as race tracks and were built for exactly that. One may want to suggest that Indianapolis is old and predates road racing, but ground wasn’t broken on Indy until 1909, but road racing predates this and the first known as a “grand prix” was held in 1906, not on an oval.

      • icemanpjn - May 19, 2013 at 5:11 AM

        I need to make a follow-up reply, after my previous reply.

        I’d also like to point out that road racing is by far the preferred form of racing, globally. There are lots of back-yard dirt ovals and crap, but if you count the major, paved circuits, by my last count a few years back there were nearly ten times as many paved road courses as paved ovals worldwide, with 589 road courses to just 66 ovals. Even in the US, which is oval country, there were 98 road courses to 60 ovals. Again, this disregards amateur dirt tracks.

        Track numbers aside, the majority of the world’s motorsports are road racing series, not oval series, because this is what fans prefer. While NASCAR boasts 75 million fans, Formula One has over half a billion. Road courses are clearly where professional racing was meant to be.

    • hastrmanek - May 18, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      “Oval dinosaur?” Really? For one thing, what do you think this series is actually about, because last I checked, its marquee event was, and will always be the Indy 500. This series is based on oval racing. If you don’t like it, watch ALMS or something.

      As for Carpenter, that dude has been racing in Indiana for over a decade, starting out on dirt, no less. I’d say he grabbed attention for all the right reasons, by bringing in an owner-driven single-car team to the toughest 2.5 mi on the planet, and slaying every Goliath he could until he had the pole. Congrats to him.

  2. buckeye044 - May 18, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    I love it. It’s a good thing for the series when one of 2 or 3 teams don’t win everything.

  3. indyatl - May 19, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    NBCSports preempted the Indianapolis 500 qualification shootout for 15 minutes of Preakness post-race content that was ALREADY being broadcast on NBC, followed by another 15 minutes of Preakness post-race rehashing. By the time Indy 500 coverage is resumed, two-thirds of the shootout is over, but the NBCSports announcers repeatedly emphasize how exciting the shootout has been. Too bad it wasn’t deemed exciting enough to be covered by NBCSports.

  4. purplesectornet - May 19, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    icemanpjn this is a pretty silly line of reasoning on your part…the 500 has a very long tradition, and has attracted drivers from all over the world…you may not like oval racing in general and that’s fine…but the 500 cannot be just dismissed this way…it’s a very difficult race to win…your comments in my opinion are pretty much uncalled for…I’m not happy about the recent loss of prestige of the 500 but it certainly can’t be summarily dismissed in this way…

    • indycarseries500 - May 19, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      People who don’t understand oval racing are always like this same for the oval track people who don’t understand road racing. It’s stupid and there are many things to enjoy about both disciplines. Both are extremely challenging, but Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi have both stated oval racing was more challenging and I hold their opinion much higher than iceman’s

  5. poggst - May 19, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    NBC Sports coverage of Indy qualifying has been nothing less than shameful. First, they cut away from Pole Day qualifying to show Preakness pre-race activities, then missed most of the Fast 9 with Preakness post-race activities, and today, they preempted Bump Day coverage for a third place consolation game in hockey. They don’t even appear to have archived video of the missed coverage available on this website. What a waste of a top notch broadcast crew and a fantastic story line. NBC’s lack of commitment to Indy racing is appalling.

    • moezilla - May 21, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      Agree whole-heartedly….I was busy last weekend and set the DVR up for as much of the qualifying that it could handle….when I sat down to watch it Sunday night, all I got was a bunch of TV filler, a couple qualifying runs, some horse racing B.S., and a 3rd place hockey game….I am a bigger NHRA fan than anything and 3/4ths of my recorded races have around a half hour to sometimes over an hour of women’s b-ball, college softball, tennis, etc. etc.etc…I think we can place the blame squarely on our country’s main forms of moto-sports, NASCAR, INDY, NHRA and the others…why not sell the broadcast rights to SPEED channel? I realize that they do not have the budget of an NBC or ESPN or FOX, but given some time and a boatload of cash generated by the automotive industry advertising contracts that SPEED channel would gain, fans like us could finally have an actual motor-sports channel, instead of NASCAR/SPEED channel with a few Formula 1 highlights thrown in…

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