Ed Carpenter recorded the fastest speed during the first day of Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis qualifying in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. His speed of 230.468mph was good enough to to lead the session ahead of the Hondas of Takuma Sato and Scott Dixon, who recorded 230.38 and 230.33mph respectively. JR Hildebrand and Alexander Rossi completed the top five.
Inclement weather postponed the start of qualifying, which was moved from 11:00am to 4:00p Eastern. Each driver was allowed one attempt to record four laps, the average of which where used to determine qualifying position.
After allegation of sandbagging, six Hondas and three Chevrolets filled the Fast Nine, with only one Team Penske car making it into the first two rows. A total of eight cars recorded speeds above the 230mph mark, the last of them being Tony Kanaan’s No. 8 Honda.
All the hype surrounding two-time Formula One champion, Fernando Alonso, was not silenced after his first laps in competition. The Spaniard recorded a four-lap average of 230.034mph, good enough for second at the time of his run eight cars in. He was eventually bumped down to sixth fastest at the end of the day.
Sebastien Bourdais set the fastest practice lap leading up to qualifying and was slated for a strong qualifying run after recording the fastest first lap of the session, but hard contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 ended his run early. Per standard procedures, Bourdais was taken directly to IU Methodist Hospital, with ESPN/ABC reporting that he was complaining of lower extremity pain.
Last year’s pole-sitter, James Hinchcliffe, was no where to be found at the sharp end of the field. He was dropped to 19th fastest overall at the end of the session with a 228.56mph.
Championship points leader and reigning champion, Simon Pagenaud was only 20th fastest, over two miles-per-hour slower than Carpenter’s fast time.
Rookie Ed Jones was just bumped out of the Fast Nine after Ed Carpenter Racing’s JR Hildebrand recorded a fourth-fastest four-lap average of 230.205mph. Hildebrand recorded one of the fastest initial laps of the session at 230.8mph, but lost speed on his final three laps. Hildebrand
Two drivers failed to record a time, including Bourdais. Zach Veach was unable to record times after the rookie had an incident during Fast Friday practice, requiring lengthy repairs.
Weather-permitting, tomorrow’s qualifying session will see today’s fastest nine entrants battle for pole position for the 101st Indianapolis 500. Positions 10 through 33 will also get another chance to set their position for the race, but will not be able to move into the Fast Nine.
Tomorrow’s Pole Day qualifying session for positions 10 through 33 is scheduled for 2:45 ahead of two 45-minute practice sessions split by qualifying group. The Fast Nine will qualify to determine the first three rows including pole position at 5:00pm Eastern.