Pole Day Wrap-Up
The field is now set for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500. For the second year in a row, Ed carpenter finds himself on the pole for the Indianapolis 500. This proves that last year’s pole was no fluke. Ed definitely knows the fast way around this place. I’ll go out on a limb here by saying that before his career is over, Ed Carpenter will win one of these things. I don’t think it’ll be this year, but he’ll get one eventually. It’s so good to see someone who loves this place, experience the success that he has – especially always being on a smaller team. It’s a feel-good story all around.
Prior to the Fast Nine, those that had times slower than the Fast Nine ran for position. Many improved their spots from yesterday, while some did worse. On the plus side, Oriol Servia and Carlos Huertas improved eleven and nine positions respectively over their times yesterday. Tony Kanaan, Alex Tagliani and Sébastien Bourdais all improved seven spots. On the flip side, Ryan Briscoe dropped thirteen spots from Saturday. Sage Karem gave up ten spots and Ryan Hunter-Reay was eight spots worse than yesterday.
I do want to give a special shout-out to Pippa Mann, who had a great run in her Susan G. Komen car for Dale Coyne Racing. She qualified with a four-lap average of 229.223 and will start on the inside of the eighth row. I think she got just about all she could out of the car. She out-qualified both Foyt cars, former pole-sitter Alex Tagliani, two of the four Ganassi cars and two former winners. We happened to be in the pits as she was making her run and got a few shots of her as she climbed out of the car and debriefed with her engineer before her crew pushed it away.
While today was exciting, it wasn’t edge of your seat exciting. To be honest, I want to go home and watch the DVR before I consider this new format a success or failure. I’ll say this, the way the weather worked out this year – today was the biggest crowd of the weekend. It was sunny and warm and people came out. It was a big enough crowd behind the Pagoda that the crowd was a nuisance – and that’s a good thing. Friday and yesterday, it was very easy to mill about and get to wherever you wanted to go. Today, you could stuck very easily in a crowd that didn’t move very fast. While it’s inconvenient at the time, you know that’s the kind of crowd this place needs to see.
JR Hildebrand started the Fast Nine with a speed of 223.726 mph – a time that was good for only thirtieth quick for the day. Simon Pagenaud held the top spot until he was knocked off by Will Power. Then James Hinchcliffe looked as if he would be starting first until Carpenter made the final run for the day. Carpenter’s four-lap average was two/tenths of a mile an hour faster than Hinchcliffe’s. As the line formed for the Fast Nine in reverse-order of speed – various drivers found different ways to stay loose. Helio listened to music while continuing to jump up and down to work off nervouse energy. His owner, Roger Penske, was a little more stoic.
Apparently, the drivers in the Fast Nine were told to hang around in front of the Pagoda. It was curious fun witnessing their reactions as they watched their car number continue to slide down the scoring pylon on the front-straightaway.
In the end however, it was Ed Carpenter winning the pole for the second consecutive year. This will be the first time Ed has been in the car since he finished second in the season finale at Fontana. His decision to put Mike Conway in the car and keeping himself in the car for the ovals is looking brilliant. Conway has already won this season at Long Beach and now Carpenter is on the pole at Indianapolis again. Carpenter’s teammate for May, JR Hildebrand, also made the Fast Nine and will start outside the third row.
In closing, I’ll have to say that this particular Month of May has had a surreal feel to it, so far. It started out with the Grand Prix of Indianapolis with a road course and cars going the opposite direction. Then qualifying was a little unsettling with it’s reverse order and finishing up at 3:00. I’m not saying it was bad – it was just different. And most know how much I dislike change. One more change is that there will be a Monday practice tomorrow, for teams to work on their race setups and full-tank runs.
After that, things get back to normal. Carb Day will be Friday and then it’s the Carb Night Burger Bash. That’ll be followed by Legends Day at The Speedway on Saturday, this year honoring Mario Andretti. Then on Sunday, it’s the 98th Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing – The Indianapolis 500.
One positive about this early end to Sunday is that we get to head back early and get into Nashville at a decent time. Susan will have a post for tomorrow, recounting some of our adventures this weekend. Thanks for following along as the Month of May continues.
Starting Grid for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500
1. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 02:35.7992 (231.067)
2. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 02:35.9528 (230.839)
3. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 02:36.0488 (230.697)
4. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 02:36.0812 (230.649)
5. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 02:36.1049 (230.614)
6. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 02:36.1526 (230.544)
7. (34) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Honda, 02:36.4224 (230.146)
8. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 02:36.5946 (229.893)
9. (21) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 02:37.3938 (228.726)
10. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevy, 02:35.8396 (231.007)
11. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Chevy, 02:35.8930 (230.928)
12. (26) Kurt Busch, Dallara-Honda, 02:35.9913 (230.782)
13. (98) Jack Hawksworth, Dallara-Honda, 02:36.1779 (230.506)
14. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 02:36.3480 (230.256)
15. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Dallara-Honda, 02:36.4881 (230.049)
16. (10) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 02:36.5750 (229.922)
17. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 02:36.6259 (229.847)
18. (16) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 02:36.6905 (229.752)
19. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 02:36.7132 (229.719)
20. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 02:36.7756 (229.628)
21. (18) Carlos Huertas, Dallara-Honda, 02:37.0328 (229.251)
22. (63) Pippa Mann, Dallara-Honda, 02:37.0521 (229.223)
23. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 02:37.0671 (229.201)
24. (68) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 02:37.1038 (229.148)
25. (6) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Chevy, 02:37.1990 (229.009)
26. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Chevy, 02:37.2376 (228.953)
27. (5) Jacques Villeneuve, Dallara-Honda, 02:37.2400 (228.949)
28. (33) James Davison, Dallara-Chevy, 02:37.2977 (228.865)
29. (41) Martin Plowman, Dallara-Honda, 02:37.3333 (228.814)
30. (8) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 02:37.4028 (228.713)
31. (22) Sage Karam, Dallara-Chevy, 02:37.5931 (228.436)
32. (17) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 02:37.8335 (228.088)
33. (91) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Chevy, 02:37.9501 (227.920)