INDIANAPOLIS – A lot of drama ensued on Saturday when James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann were dramatically bumped from racing in next Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network). The only real drama we thought would ensue on Sunday was which one of the four Team Penske drivers would be starting on the pole for the May 27 race.
Instead, the hometown hero shocked them all.
Ed Carpenter turned a four-lap average of 229.618 mph in his No. 20 Chevrolet en route to his fourth career Verizon IndyCar Series pole. Three of those are now in the Indy 500. Carpenter, won the pole here in 2013 and again in 2014 and now will have the top starting spot for the 2018 edition.
The Indianapolis native got the crowd on their feet with an opening lap of 230 mph. The sound of the crowd trumped the sound of the car going by, as the Butler University grad had not just a ton of Chevrolet horsepower behind him but also the fans in the stands too.
Behind Carpenter are three Team Penske drivers led by Simon Pagenaud. The Frenchman will start second in his No. 22 Chevrolet with a four-lap average of 228.761 mph. He told me he was confident on Friday and now his confidence level is through the roof.
Will Power earned his fourth straight front row starting spot and seventh consecutive top five in his No. 12 Chevrolet. Power, had a four-lap average of 228.607 mph.
The defending series champion Josef Newgarden was fourth with a time of 228.405 mph in his No. 1 Chevrolet. Sebastien Bourdais was the top Honda as he rolls off in the Middle of Row 2 (228.142 mph).
Row 3 is a star studded one with Danica Patrick to the inside, Helio Castroneves to the middle and Scott Dixon to the outside.
The quickest qualifiers of the 10th through 33rd group were the AJ Foyt Racing teammates of Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist. They will start 10th and 11th respectively.
Alexander Rossi was on a run to have a decent starting spot, but he lost a ton of ground on the fourth and final lap and will roll off 32nd next to his “Team IndyCar” teammate of Conor Daly.
102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power
Row 2: Josef Newgarden, Sebastien Bourdais, Spencer Pigot
Row 3: Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon
Row 4: Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist R, Marco Andretti
Row 5: Zachary Claman DeMelo R, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Charlie Kimball
Row 6: Takuma Sato, Kyle Kaiser R, Robert Wickens R
Row 7: James Davison, Max Chilton, Carlos Munoz
Row 8: Gabby Chaves, Stefan Wilson, Sage Karam
Row 9: Zach Veach, Oriol Servia, JR Hildebrand
Row 10: Jay Howard, Ed Jones, Graham Rahal
Row 11: Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi, Conor Daly