Carpenter Speeds to Third Indy 500 Pole

Ed Carpenter wins pole for 2018 Indianapolis 500
Ed Carpenter laid down a perfect qualifying run on May 20, 2018 to earn his third Indianapolis 500 pole and first since 2014. | Photo: Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media

Honda domination of Indianapolis 500 qualifying gave way to a Chevrolet sweep of the front row in Pole Day qualifying with Ed Carpenter leading the way with the only four-lap average over 229 mph.

Carpenter was the penultimate Fast Nine Shootout qualifier and came out swinging, laying down a 230.088 mph lap on his first go around the 2.5-mile oval. Through his fourth lap, Carpenter maintained speeds in excess of 229 mph to average 229.618 over his run, clearing the second-fastest qualifier by nearly 1 mph.

Ed Carpenter smiles in Indy 500 pits
Hometown favorite Ed Carpenter turned Pole Day’s fastest lap on his first revolution of the 2.5-mile oval. | Photo: Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media

The achievement marked Carpenter’s fourth career pole position and his third pole at the Indy 500 after starting from the inside of the front row in 2013 and 2014. It also marks Ed Carpenter Racing’s fourth pole. The team’s most recent qualifying triumph came in 2015 at the Milwaukee Mile with Josef Newgarden.

Simon Pagenaud’s four-lap average of 228.761 mph was fastest prior to Carpenter’s run and earned the French driver a front-row start between the owner-driver and teammate Will Power. Power’s qualifying run averaged 228.607 mph and secured his fourth front-row start in the “500.” Power is also the only driver to appear in every Fast Nine Shootout since its debut in 2018.

Newgarden, Sebastien Bourdais and Spencer Pigot qualified on the second row. Bourdais, who crashed in qualifying last year, sped to a four-lap average of 228.142 mph and became Honda’s fastest representative. Pigot’s sixth-place qualifying effort represents his career best.

Danica Patrick, Ed Carpenter Racing’s third driver in the Fast 9, averaged 228.090 mph to secure a start from the inside of Row 3. Helio Castroneves will start in the middle of the third row after his run, the last of the day, yielded a 227.859 mph four-lap average. Scott Dixon was the slowest qualifier in the group with a 227.262 mph four-lap average.

Foyt Full-Timers Dominate 10–33 Qualifying

In qualifying for positions 10 through 33, AJ Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan unleashed the fastest four-lap average after setting the second-fastest no-tow speed in Group 1 practice.

Kanaan, 23rd to qualify, was strong from the start with a 228.368 mph first lap. While his speed dropped over the course of his run, he never left the 227 mph range and secured a four-lap average of 227.664 mph and a start from the inside of the fourth row.

Kanaan’s rookie teammate Matheus Leist qualified to the middle of the fourth row with a 227.571 mph four-lap average. Marco Andretti had the fastest qualifying run for a Honda at 227.288 mph in the No. 98 Andretti Autosport machine to earn the 12th starting position.

Rookie Zachary Claman De Melo qualified his No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda to the inside of Row 5 with a 226.999 mph four-lap average and will be joined on that row by Ryan Hunter-Reay and Charlie Kimball.

Charlie Kimball prepares for first Indy 500 with Carlin
Charlie Kimball was the best-qualifying Carlin pilot. | Photo: Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media

Defending Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato, driving this year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, will start from the inside of the sixth row alongside rookies Kyle Kaiser of Juncos Racing and Robert Wickens of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Row 7 will be anchored by the No. 33 Chevrolet of James Davison who notably qualified on Saturday with the 33rd fastest time after experiencing a heavy crash in Fast Friday practice. Davison will start next to Max Chilton of Carlin and Andretti one-off Carlos Munoz.

The eighth row features Gabby Chaves on the inside representing Harding Racing along with Andretti’s Stefan Wilson and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Sage Karam.

Zach Veach will start from the inside of Row 9 in his Andretti Honda with Oriol Servia’s Scuderia Corsa machine in the middle and J.R. Hildebrand’s DRR Chevrolet on the outside.

Row 10 will feature the No. 7 SPM Honda of Jay Howard along with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ed Jones and Graham Rahal.

The last row will be occupied by the three slowest Hondas with Jack Harvey on the inside, Alexander Rossi in the middle and Conor Daly on the outside. Rossi’s run started strong but a bobble led to a 221.619 mph fourth lap that greatly impacted his average speed.

Cars will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval for Practice 8 at 12:30 p.m. EDT on Monday. The 3.5-hour session will be one of two final opportunities to practice prior to the 500-mile race on May 27.

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