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||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