Carpenter repeats as Indy 500 pole winner
Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy's Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet Dallara poses for a photo after winning the pole position for the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 18, 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana - by Jonathan Ferrey
Carpenter completed a four-lap qualifying run around the famed 2.5-mile (4km) Indy oval at 231.067 mph (372.018 k/hr) to bump Canadian James Hinchcliffe's run of 230.839 mph (371.651 k/hr) into the number two spot.
"It's awesome to do this two years in a row," Carpenter said. "But it's all about the race.
"We started first and finished 10th last year. I wasn't happy with that. Hopefully we have a closer deal this year."
Last year, Carpenter only needed one qualifying run. But under changes for this year, it took two as Carpenter led Saturday's time trials session to decide the nine drivers who would have a chance to run for the pole on Sunday.
Carpenter's four-lap run was the fastest at Indy since 2003.
"It was a lot harder than last year," Carpenter said. "It was a fight. And conditions changed. You saw a lot of guys struggle with more inconsistency over the four laps.
"I was just hanging on all the way."
The 33-car field was filled Saturday but exact spots in the grid were not determined until Sunday, which each car had one run -- Saturday's fast nine for the front three rows and the rest to fill out the final eight rows.
Indy hometown hero Carpenter was joined in the front row by Hinchcliffe and Australian Will Power at 230.697 mph.
"I just thought, 'This ain't going to be enough for the pole,'" Power said. "That's racing. Sitting around waiting to do four laps trimmed out is stressful."
Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Brazil, Frenchman Simon Pagenaud and American Marco Andretti booked spots in the second row.
"It's the most thrilling, intense qualifying you go through in your racing career," Pagenaud said. "It's very challenging. It's four laps (all) out. I held my breath all four laps."
Colombian rookie Carlos Munoz and Americans Josef Newgarden and J.R. Hildebrand completed the third row.
- Busch fine with row 4 -
The fourth row, comprised of Sunday's fastest cars among those who did not earn a run at the pole, will feature Colombian former Formula One racer Juan Pablo Montoya, defending IndyCar series champion Scott Dixon of New Zealand and 2004 US stock car season champion Kurt Busch.
Busch will attempt to become only the fourth driver to race in the Indy 500 and a 600-mile US stock car event on the same day. He was barely bumped from a chance to run for the pole Saturday after he flew off following his first runs for a stock car race.
Americans John Andretti, Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon are the only racers to have done the double, Gordon the most recent in 2004.
Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, a former F1 and IndyCar series champion making a comeback at age 42, will start 27th on the outside of row nine.
The last row features the youngest driver in the field, 19-year-old American Sage Karam on the inside, and the oldest, 46-year-old former Indy winner Buddy Lazier, on the outside.
The time difference from Carpenter to Lazier of 2.1509 seconds over 10 miles is the closest in Indy 500 history, lowering the old mark of 2.5399 seconds from 2011.