Carpenter wins Indy 500 pole for 2nd straight year

INDIANAPOLIS — Local driver Ed Carpenter has made himself at home on the Indianapolis 500 pole.

The last of nine qualifiers to take the track, Carpenter bumped James Hinchcliffe from the top spot, posting a four-lap average of 231.067 mph to win the 500 pole for the second straight year.

“I felt that it was harder,” Carpenter said. “It was just a different position because when I made my run last year, we didn’t really have anything to lose. This year, being the last guy to go out, I think there was a little bit of pressure to not mess it up.”

He didn’t mess it up, not at all.

Carpenter’s No. 20 Chevrolet was the car to beat all weekend, and the hometown favorite showed no signs of rust in his first IndyCar Series race of the season. He owns Ed Carpenter Racing and decided in November to run only on ovals, where he excels. He turned his car over to Mike Conway on road and street courses, and skipped the first four races of the season.

He knew he had the pole secured when he nailed the final two corners on the last lap.

“I could really just kind of enjoy it knowing that we were going to be on the pole for the second year,” he said.

Hinchcliffe will start second after sustaining a concussion last weekend in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Will Power will join them on the front row.

Three-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves was fourth followed by Simon Pagenaud and Marco Andretti. Carlos Munoz, Josef Newgarden and J.R. Hildebrand will be on the third row.

Carpenter, the stepson of former speedway executive Tony George, was 10th in last year’s Indy 500. He is 11th driver to earn consecutive 500 poles and the first since Castroneves in 2009-10.

“It’s all about the race,” the 33-year-old Carpenter said. “Hopefully, we can close the deal this year.”

As a single-car team last year, Carpenter was unable to get help on data and much-needed setup information. He didn’t want a repeat this May, so he hired Hildebrand to drive a second car at Indy for Ed Carpenter Racing. Hildebrand nearly won the Indy 500 as a rookie in 2011, but he crashed exiting the final turn and was passed for the win by the late Dan Wheldon.

“I wish we could have got him up on the front row with us, but the shootout’s tough,” Carpenter said. “The conditions were hard today, but having him go first today also helped me because we were able to make an adjustment.”

Carpenter thrived in the first year of a new Indy 500 qualifying format. He posted the top qualifying speed Saturday when the fastest nine drivers advanced to Sunday’s shootout for the pole.

Juan Pablo Montoya had the fastest four-lap average (231.007 mph) among drivers ineligible to win the Indianapolis 500 pole and will start 10th.

“We have a pretty quick car,” Montoya, the 2000 winner, said. “Hopefully, my guys can learn something for the Fast Nine. I think that will put us in a good spot to start the race.”

Montoya was followed by reigning series champion Scott Dixon and former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch.

Busch is set to race 1,100 miles in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 25. Busch raced in NASCAR’s All-Star race the night before and flew back from Concord, North Carolina, on Sunday morning.

Busch was humbled when he said he’d never be able to duplicate a weekend like this one — “except for maybe next week.”

Defending 500 champion Tony Kanaan will start 16th.

Hinchcliffe appeared to have no problems in the car days after he was cleared to return for his concussion. He paced as he watched Carpenter make his final run, then his chance at the pole end when Carpenter found more speed on his final lap.

He was injured last weekend in Saturday’s Grand Prix when debris from Justin Wilson’s car flew into the cockpit, striking Hinchcliffe in the head. He was taken away from the track on a stretcher, transported to a hospital and diagnosed with a concussion.

The 27-year old Canadian was cleared to drive Thursday, and took the wheel back from pinch-driver E.J. Viso.

“I had to kind of pretend that I had been here all month and take the feedback my teammates had given me at face value,” Hinchcliffe said. “I knew what to expect from the car and that was a huge part of it.”

For the first time, IndyCar awarded points based on qualifying runs. The top qualifier on Saturday earned 33 points, second place got 32 and so on, all the way to one point for the 33rd-place entrant.

The pole winner earned another nine points Sunday, decreasing to one point for the ninth-place starter.

Carpenter, a Butler University alum, is an avid Indiana Pacers fan and couldn’t wait to watch them play the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

“Racers and Pacers right now,” he said. “So go Pacers, beat the Heat.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald talks with the media after practice at Under Armour Performance Center. The Seattle Seahawks hired Macdonald on January 31, 2024. (Kevin Richardson / Tribune News Service)
Seattle Seahawks roster breakdown: One thought on Geno Smith and every position group

The next phase of Mike Macdonald’s debut season as head coach of… Continue reading

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners lean on college players, pitchers with ‘power arms’ as MLB draft concludes

Seattle’s 20 selections include 19 college players and one high schooler.

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches at the 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners go college route on second day of draft, take 2-way player Grant Knipp

Seattle chose youth and selected eight college players.

Tyler Cronk performs in the slam dunk competition during the Everett 3on3 tournament in downtown Everett, Washington on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Recap, videos and photos: 2024 Everett 3on3 was another slam dunk

Everett alumni place second; skills contests, food trucks and vendors were also in full swing this past weekend to celebrate the basketball tournament’s third edition.

View of T-Mobile Park from the Press Club. Ben Ray / The Reporter
T-Mobile Park at 25: Mariners fans share favorite ballpark memories

The venue turned a quarter of a century on Monday

Kamiak High School’s Victor Sanchez Hernandez Jr. puts on a University of Washington football helmet. Sanchez Hernandez, a three-star defensive end who’s heading into his senior season, committed to the Huskies. (Photo courtesy of Victory Sanchez Hernandez Jr.)
High school football recruiting: Here’s how Washington’s 2025, 2026 classes are shaping up

TNT sports reporter Jon Manley spoke with national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman.

From left to right: Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ellalee Wortham, Ava DePew and Presley Harris. The foursome, called “Awesome Mix 12,” won the High School Elite division in 2023 and returned to Spokane Hoopfest this year to claim the Women’s Competitive division title. (Photo courtesy Sarah Reese)
Winter Wesco rivals, summer hoopfest champions

Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ava DePew, Presley Harris and Ellalee Wortham teamed up to win back-to-back 3-on-3 titles.

Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith found little room between South Carolinas Destiny Littleton (11) and Laeticia Amihere. (Carlos Gonzalez / Star Tribune)
These Olympians in the 2024 Paris Games have ties to Washington state

Nineteen athletes competing in France are from The Evergreen State.

Once an MLB bust, Mill Creek’s Travis Snider now hopes to change toxic culture

When Snider made it to the big leagues in 2008 at just 20 he was one of the game’s top prospects, touted as the Blue Jays’ next great hitter.

UW Husky rowing will be well-represented in Paris at 2024 Olympics

The U.S. eight competes in heat racing on July 29 with finals on Aug. 3.

Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (20) skates with the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Flames at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chandler Stephenson’s deal about broader Kraken goals rather than dollar value

The former Golden Knights centerman signed a seven-year deal for $6.25 million with Seattle last week.

Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh (29) celebrates his two-run home run with a trident as he high fives teammates during the first inning against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (Elías Valverde II / Tribune News Service)
Statistics show just how terrible Mariners’ offense has been | Analysis

Seattle leads the AL West, but situational hitting has been a setback.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.