Indy 500 qualifying: Carpenter's first pole lap 'blew my mind'

Indianapolis 500 polesitter Ed Carpenter says his 230mph opening qualifying lap that helped secure pole position 'blew his mind'

Indy 500 qualifying: Carpenter's first pole lap 'blew my mind'

Carpenter started his four-lap run with a 230mph opener, with Penske's Simon Pagenaud getting closest to that benchmark with a first qualifying lap of 229.125mph.

"Several drivers in the IndyCar field, including Carpenter, were able to lap in the low 231mph range on 'Fast Friday', but all had required tows to do so.

But Carpenter said a 230mph lap on Sunday looked unlikely after Saturday's first qualifying.

"That first lap blew my mind, I figured we could run a 229mph [lap] based on last [Saturday] night," he said.

"My run last night wasn't very good. The car wasn't nearly as good as we have been.

"I knew we had more left, but I wasn't expecting a 230mph [lap]. The whole ECR team, especially the guys on the #20 car, they put so much love into this car.

"It means everything to me to put us in a position like this."

Ed Carpenter Racing did not work on qualifying simulations until Thursday's practice, and Carpenter credited a turnaround after set-up problems as key to his pole.

"The car wasn't very well balanced, so we had a think about it, came back with something different for Friday," he said. "It was much, much better."

Carpenter added that concerns about the difficulty of overtaking made his pole position more important than his previous poles for the Indy 500.

"[Track position is more important] than my previous two poles," he said. "I think it's going to be beneficial.

"It's always nice to start up front just because you can control things a little bit.

"Unless we all figure out a lot with race set-ups the next couple of days, it certainly feels good knowing I've got clean air in front of me, at least as long as I get a good start.

"I'm excited to get in the car and keep working on the race set-up and hopefully make it as perfect as this qualifying car was because of all the pole runs I've had here, this one, believe it or not, came the easiest."

Spencer Pigot and Danica Patrick made sure all three ECR-run entries made the qualifying 'Fast Nine'.

Patrick qualified seventh after a slight error at Turn 1 and said she was glad her run was "boring".

"You hope it's boring, and it was pretty boring," she said. "So as far as a run goes, to be going as fast as you can possibly go, it was pretty comfortable.

"We're there in case something goes wrong, but other than that everything should be pretty predictable, pretty boring up there.

"You're pilots just ready for emergencies. That's what we're doing in the car, we're ready for understeers, oversteers, and you're there for it, so luckily it was pretty good."

shares
comments
Indy 500: SPM coy on plans for alternative Hinchcliffe drive

Previous article

Indy 500: SPM coy on plans for alternative Hinchcliffe drive

Next article

Pietro Fittipaldi on his injury recovery and studying Indy 500

Pietro Fittipaldi on his injury recovery and studying Indy 500
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Ed Carpenter
Teams Ed Carpenter Racing
Author Tom Errington
How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals Plus

How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals

Colton Herta's dominant IndyCar win on the streets of St. Petersburg confirmed what rivals have long-suspected - that the second-generation racer is destined for stardom. But it was Herta's comments afterwards that gave perhaps the most interesting insight into a driver that will be around for a long time to come

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival? Plus

How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? DAVID MALSHER-LOPEZ investigates Palou's potential

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021
Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans? Plus

Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans?

IndyCar's gold standard teams Ganassi and Penske are set for another slugfest beginning this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. A poor start to the first season with the new aeroscreen left Josef Newgarden with too much ground to make up on Scott Dixon in the title chase, but his strong end to 2020 suggests a battle royale lies ahead...

IndyCar
Apr 16, 2021
The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021 Plus

The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021

From rookies arriving with big reputations to veterans who still have the fire and an F1-linked squad pushing to join the big leagues, IndyCar has it all this year. Here are six of the key storylines to keep track of

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021