Skip to content

With Indy pole captured, Carpenter sets sights on bigger prize

May 18, 2013, 8:43 PM EDT

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Since he was a little boy, Ed Carpenter — Indianapolis native, Butler University graduate, and stepson of IZOD IndyCar Series founder Tony George — has known how important the Indianapolis 500 is. Perhaps that is why he’s taking his pole position for the 97th running in stride, instead focusing on what lies ahead next weekend.

“This is a good start,” said Carpenter, who shocked the high-powered Team Penske and Andretti Autosport teams to win the pole with a four-lap average of 228.762 miles per hour. “I want to make sure to keep the team focused because I hope this is Part One of a really magical month. We’re here for Race Day.

“This is awesome and it’s bigger than our [race] wins, and it’s huge for the team…It’s definitely a landmark day. But I don’t want to get overly focused on this, because we have a lot of work to do yet.”

Carpenter, the owner of his own single-car squad, delivered a victory for the little guys this afternoon and will get to enjoy a week’s worth of bragging rights, 15 championship points, and an extra $100,000 — which is always nice to come across when you’re in his position. But while he considers it, in his words, “an honor” to win a pole at Indianapolis, he knows very well that people only remember who wins the race at the Brickyard.

He’ll think about today’s accomplishment, but just a little. Then he’ll think about how to get an even bigger accomplishment next Sunday.

“I love the race a whole lot more than qualifying, and I really want to send a message and make sure I lead by example for the team and make sure we don’t forget why we’re really here,” he said. “This is fun and huge for our team — I don’t want to think that it’s not — but the pole won’t mean much if we don’t go out and perform on Race Day.”

A race victory would be a culmination of sorts for Carpenter, who grew up racing midget cars before migrating over to open-wheel formula racing. In his early years in IndyCar, he was sometimes mocked as a driver that was only in the sport because of his family connections. But as time went by, he began to earn a solid level of respect and wins at Kentucky in 2011 and Fontana in 2012 cemented him as one of the best oval racers in the paddock.

Now, Carpenter has the opportunity to make his biggest dream come true in front of his hometown fans, who let him know just how much they appreciated his efforts by loudly cheering him on in the Fast Nine and at the end when he had the pole sewn up.

“It gives you confidence knowing that people are behind you,” he said.

Latest Posts
  1. IndyCar: Kanaan wins Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am charity kart race (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    KanaanTMSP1-2 Getty Images

    More than a dozen former and current IndyCar drivers take part in the special event that honors the late two-time Indy 500 champ and raises money for Alzheimer’s research.

  2. NASCAR: Tough Kentucky track awaits Regan Smith this evening

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    Kentucky Speedway - Day 1 Getty Images

    With seven races left in the Nationwide schedule, can Smith start making up ground on teammate Chase Elliott in the championship?

  3. IMSA: Ganassi holds on for COTA win; Viper, 8Star big winners

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

    PruettCOTAWin Getty Images

    Ganassi Riley-Ford, 8Star Motorsports, Vipers win in COTA.

  4. Wendy Venturini to become first female to call Sprint Cup race on radio Sunday at New Hampshire

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy WendyVenturini.com) (Photo courtesy WendyVenturini.com)

    When Wendy Venturini walks into the press box at New Hampshire Motor Speedway prior to Sunday’s Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup race, she will become part of NASCAR history.

  5. Red Bull GRC: Scott Speed scores third win of 2014 in Los Angeles Race 1

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:03 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    The Red Bull GRC championship tightens dramatically after the first race of the weekend in L.A.

  6. Ty Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr. on front row for Saturday night’s NNS race at Kentucky

    Sep 20, 2014, 5:42 PM EDT

    Ty Dillon KY 2014 Getty Images

    Ty Dillon is bound and determined to give it his all to win the Nationwide Series championship this season. He took a big step Saturday afternoon by earning the pole for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 later that evening at Kentucky Speedway. Sam Hornish Jr. will start on the outside of the front row.

  7. WATCH: Red Bull Global Rallycross begins doubleheader weekend in L.A.

    Sep 20, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    CLICK HERE for stream links to the first of two GRC finals this weekend from Los Angeles.

  8. 16-year-old Cole Custer becomes youngest-ever winner of NASCAR national series race

    Sep 20, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    UNOH 175 Getty Images

    Custer holds off Darrell Wallace Jr. and Matt Crafton to win the Camping World Truck Series’ UNOH 175 at New Hampshire.

  9. F1 Qualifying Analysis: Missed opportunities allow Hamilton to rule again

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Ferrari and Red Bull could have – perhaps even should have – been in the mix for pole position. Mercedes was simply too good for them, once again, though.

  10. Tyler Clary hopes to go from Olympic gold medal swimmer to NASCAR driver

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Tyler Clary 2014

    Head-to-head, there’s very few Sprint Cup drivers that can beat Jimmie Johnson. But Tyler Clary can kick Johnson’s butt any time he wants to.

  11. Red Bull GRC: Friday recap from Los Angeles (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    Friday recap from Red Bull GRC in LA is in the books.

  12. Engine glitch leaves Grosjean fuming over the radio in Singapore

    Sep 20, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice Getty Images

    “We break our balls to make a good qualifying and you lose five-tenths every single straight line because the thing cuts” – tough talk from the Frenchman.

  13. Vettel thinks pole was possible in Singapore

    Sep 20, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Defending world champion disappointed to only finish fourth in qualifying at Marina Bay.

  14. Magnussen: McLaren can’t be happy with today (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Reaching Q3 for the seventh race in a row not enough for Magnussen.

  15. Jeff Gordon posts quickest lap in final Sprint Cup practice at N.H.

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

    Sylvania 300 - Practice Getty Images

    For the first time all weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, someone else besides Brad Keselowski got to the top of the leaderboard.

  16. Alonso happy with fifth in Singapore GP qualifying (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Ferrari looked to be in the running for pole in Singapore, but Alonso is still pleased with fifth place on the grid.

  17. Ricciardo: Red Bull closer to Mercedes than expected

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Australian driver qualifies third for the Singapore Grand Prix ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel.

  18. NASCAR: Cole Custer on pole for Truck Series at N.H.

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT

    Carneros 200 - Qualifying Getty Images

    The 16-year-old earns his second career Truck Series pole ahead of today’s UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  19. Rosberg frustrated to fall 0.007 seconds short of pole

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    The F1 championship leader falls agonizingly short of pole position in qualifying for the Singapore GP on Saturday.

  20. Hamilton fights back for pole despite mistake on Q3 lap

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Briton makes up for an error at the first corner to beat teammate Nico Rosberg by just 0.007 seconds.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (1987)
  2. J. Gordon (1578)
  3. K. Harvick (1475)
  4. K. Busch (1442)
  5. M. Crafton (1351)