Indy 500: Ed Carpenter is surprise pole winner
By Jeff Majeske Post-Tribune correspondent May 18, 2013 7:42PM
Updated: June 20, 2013 4:54PM
INDIANAPOLIS — Ed Carpenter beat both the most successful team in Indianapolis 500 history and the one that dominated practice this week to take the pole for the 97th Indianapolis 500 on Saturday.
Carpenter, an Indianapolis resident, Butler grad, stepson of former track president Tony George and who formed his own team, watched a couple of furious challenges fall short in the final moments of time trials to claim the top spot with a four-lap average of 228.762 mph in his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Dallara-Chevrolet.
“It’s an honor to win this pole – this is such a competitive field,” Carpenter said. “I hope this is a part one of a magical month. This is awesome, bigger than our wins and huge for our team. It’s definitely a landmark day.”
Carpenter’s best previous Indianapolis start was eighth in 2010 and 2011.
In a day delayed by rain that pushed qualifying past the usual 6 p.m. EST close, the full roster of drivers for Team Penske and Andretti Autosport – plus Carpenter – made up the Fast Nine shootout that concluded Saturday’s first day of qualifying.
Team Penske’s Will Power had the fastest speed in the first segment of qualifying. The order is inverted for the Fast Nine shootout; therefore Power had the last chance to oust Carpenter from the top spot. After opening with a promising lap of 229.119 mph, Power faded to a four-lap average of 228.087 to settle for sixth starting position.
Team Penske was looking to add to its record of 17 poles at Indianapolis to go along with a record 15 race victories.
Rookie Carlos Munoz continued his amazing week to claim the second starting position at 228.342 mph. Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti claimed the other front-row starting spot with an average of 228.261 mph.
One of IndyCar’s perennial powerhouses, Target Chip Ganassi, had a less-than-stellar qualifying effort.
Former Indy 500 and series champions Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti will start next to each other in the sixth row – spots 16th and 17th, respectively. Franchitti won last year’s 500 from 16th.
Six cars were bumped out of the top 24 after the first round of qualifying, including Ryan Briscoe, last year’s pole-sitter. Briscoe, now with a Ganassi satellite team, bumped his way back in and will start 23rd.
Rain cut into the morning practice period, then delayed the start of qualifying until just before 1:30 p.m. EST.
The final nine positions of the 33-car field need to be filled in today’s final day of qualifying. The slowest qualifier then is bumped. Each car is allowed three attempts per day.
Among those vying for the final nine spots will be Katherine Legge, who will drive one of the Dallara-Hondas affiliated with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. It will be renumbered No. 81.
Legge, 22nd in her Indianapolis 500 debut last year, could get a shot at redemption today. She was bounced out of her ride with Dragon Racing after last season in favor of Sebastian Saavedra, who also needs to qualify today.
Others looking to secure a spot are Graham Rahal, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Michel Jourdain, 1996 champ Buddy Lazier, Tristan Vautier, Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden, the last driver bumped on Saturday.