Ed Carpenter has made his mark in the record books, claiming his third pole position at the Brickyard for this weekend’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

The IndyCar driver – who also runs another two newly-designed DW12 machines entered under his eponymous team for this year’s race – sped to the top of the ‘Fast Nine’ Shootout for pole position on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a staggering four-lap average speed of 229.618 mph (369.534 km/h).

The American, who traditionally only contests the oval rounds of the IndyCar series each year since 2014 – is joined on the front row of three with Team Penske’s Frenchman Simon Pagenaud almost 1 mph slower with a 228.761 mph (368.155 kmh) four-lap average and his Australian teammate Will Power who clocked a 228.607mph (367.939 kmh). Power, who held the top spot prior to Carpenter’s run, secured his first front-row start since the 2015 event.

Pagenaud and Power’s other teammate and defending series champion Josef Newgarden will start right behind the pair in fourth, followed by former F1 racer Sébastien Bourdais.

Meanwhile, Carpenter’s other two racing talents in fellow American’s Spencer Pigot and Danica Patrick also appear in the ‘Fast Nine’, qualifying sixth and seventh respectively. Patrick qualifies in a fitting position to lead the third row as she contests in her farewell race at IMS when she decided at the end of last year she would step away from racing. Brazilian Hélio Castroneves and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon rounded out the ‘Fast Nine’ positions.

Earlier in the day also saw the formation of starting spots 10 through to 33. Brother of Supercars talent Will Davison, James Davison – who crashed in Friday practice and sat on the bubble in 33rd risking being bumped from the field on Saturday – rose to 19th during Sunday’s qualifying, recording a four-lap speed average of 226.255 mph (364.122 kmh).

Rookie Zachary Claman De Melo – replacing injured racer Pietro Fittipaldi who suffered two broken legs in a World Endurance Championship accident at Spa-Francorchamps – improved from 26th on Saturday to 13th in final qualifying on Sunday. However, Matheus Leist was the fastest freshman, qualifying 11th with a speed of 227.571 mph (366.240 kmh) right behind teammate and 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan.

Other former F1 prodigies in 2017 and 2016 winners Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi respectively failed to hit their expectations on the day it counted. Sato improved from 29th on Saturday to only 16th on Sunday while the former Manor Racing driver struggled to post a good speed having near misses with the wall that scrubbed momentum off his laps. Rossi was tenth-best on Saturday, the best of the losers to fail to qualify for the Fast Nine Shootout. But come Sunday, the Californian posted an average of only 224.935 mph (361.997 kmh) over his four laps to nosedive to 32nd place.

The biggest shock of qualifying was the elimination of championship frontrunner James Hinchcliffe, who was bumped out of the top-33 late in the afternoon. The Canadian attempted to requalify for the starting grid, but aborted his attempt after sensing a wheel vibration. His mechanics ran out of time to re-prepare his car for another run before ‘Bump Day’ qualifying came to a close.

The eleven rows of three will do battle on Sunday for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500. The triple-crown event will wave the green flag at 12:20 pm local time (UTC: 16:20).

2018 IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 – Final Qualifying Results
‘Fast Nine’ Qualifiers Team Avg. Speed
1. Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing 229.618 mph
2. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske 228.761 mph
3. Will Power Team Penske 228.607 mph
4. Josef Newgarden Team Penske 228.405 mph
5. Sébastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing / Vasser-Sullivan 228.142 mph
6. Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing 228.107 mph
7. Danica Patrick Ed Carpenter Racing 228.090 mph
8. Hélio Castroneves Team Penske 227.859 mph
9. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 227.262 mph
10-33 Qualifiers Team Avg. Speed
10. Tony Kanaan A.J. Foyt Enterprises 227.664 mph
11. Matheus Leist A.J. Foyt Enterprises 227.571 mph
12. Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Autosport / Curb-Agajanian 227.288 mph
13. Zachary DeMelo Dale Coyne Racing 226.999 mph
14. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 226.788 mph
15. Charlie Kimball Carlin Motorsport 226.657 mph
16. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 226.557 mph
17. Kyle Kaiser Juncos Racing 226.398 mph
18. Robert Wickens Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 226.296 mph
19. James Davison A.J. Foyt Enterprises / Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi 226.255 mph
20. Max Chilton Carlin Motorsport 226.212 mph
21. Carlos Muñoz Andretti Autosport 226.048 mph
22. Gabby Chaves Harding Racing 226.007 mph
23. Stefan Wilson Andretti Autosport 225.863 mph
24. Sage Karam Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 225.823 mph
25. Zach Veach Andretti Autosport 225.748 mph
26. Oriol Servià es Scuderia Corsa / Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 225.699 mph
27. J.R. Hildebrand Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 225.418 mph
28. Jay Howard Schmidt Peterson Motorsports / AFS Racing 225.388 mph
29. Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing 225.362 mph
30. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 225.327 mph
31. Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing / Schmidt Peterson 225.254 mph
32. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport 224.935 mph
33. Conor Daly Dale Coyne Racing /Thom Burns Racing 224.429 mph
Did Not Qualify Team
34. James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
35. Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing

Image via LAT Images

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Luke McCullough

Melbourne Based - 17 Grand Prix attendances and counting in Australia, Singapore, Canada, France, Austria and Great Britain.