Newgarden Makes Fast 9, Has Chance At Indy 500 Pole Position Tomorrow

SPEEDWAY, Ind. - May 21, 2016 – Qualifying Day 1 Notes
Ed Carpenter Racing successfully qualified all three of it's entries for the next Sunday's  Indianapolis 500. The No. 6 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet of JR Hildebrand, the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter, and the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet of Josef Newgarden all have guaranteed starting positions in the 100th running of the 500-mile race.

Heavy rain into the early morning hours caused a delay to the morning practice session. An hour and a half of practice for all drivers turned into two 15 minute sessions. Newgarden turned only three laps but still set the 6th fastest lap of the morning. Hildebrand completed six laps while Carpenter elected to sit out the session and go straight into qualifying.

Newgarden was the first of the ECR trio to take to the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his four-lap qualification attempt. His speed of 230.229 landed him in the first position for the next 11 runs. Townsend Bell bumped Newgarden to 2nd.

Carpenter withdrew initial qualifying speed of 227.388 mph and made a second attempt, improving his four-lap average to 229.429 mph and placing him in the 14th position at the close of qualifying today. He will compete in the first session of qualifications tomorrow that will set positions 10-33 of the Indianapolis 500 starting grid.

Disappointed with his first four-lap qualifying speed of 227.380 mph, Hildebrand also made a second attempt on the day, improving both his average qualifying speed to 229.075 mph and position to 15th. Hildebrand will also compete for a starting spot in positions 10-33.

Newgarden finished the day in the 6th position and will compete for the Front Row during tomorrow’s Fast Nine qualifying session. The Fast 9 will begin at 5 p.m. ET. The quickest nine drivers from today will have one shot at setting a four-lap average fast enough to earn the coveted.

ECR has returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a driver lineup identical to that of 2015. The trio of drivers earned the nickname “Team America” last year when ECR was the only multi-car team with an all-American lineup in the Indianapolis 500. Hildebrand hails from Sausalito, Calif.; Newgarden is a native of Hendersonville, Tenn.; Carpenter, from Indianapolis, is a hometown favorite.

The live television broadcast of Indianapolis 500 qualifications will continue tomorrow, starting at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN 3. The broadcast will resume on ABC at 4 p.m. ET.
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 6 PREFERRED FREEZER SERVICES CHEVROLET: "It was a bummer that our first run wasn't five minutes earlier or something.  When we went back and looked at all of the data it appeared as if that was pretty much the only difference between myself and Josef.  He did a great job.  He ran four great laps.  The wind picked up so we were slower in one straightaway and were barely quick enough to catch back up to his speed on the other side.  So that was kind of a bummer and we went back out and gave it another run this afternoon.  It was kind of a similar situation.  We just didn't quite have it dialed in, Ed nor I.  We'll go back and look at everything.  We'll take another crack at it and hopefully end up somewhere between 10th and 15th tomorrow and we'll start working on the race."

ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY'S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET: "I'm glad we got through the day unscathed.  Josef's in a good position, I think he's got a car to go for the pole tomorrow.  Unfortunately the Fuzzy's 20 car and the Preferred Fuzzy's 6 car just aren't up to speed right now.  All of the cars are handling great.  We're happy with that.  I'm looking forward to Monday practice and getting ready for the race but we'll see if we can go out tomorrow and move up from 14th and do our best as a team to see if we can win another pole with Josef.  That car has front row potential."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 21 PREFERRED FREEZER SERVICES CHEVROLET: "The main objective was to get into the Fast Nine; it didn't really matter how quick we were we just needed to be in that group.  Fortunately we get to go for the pole tomorrow and then try and get as many points as we can because qualifying has a good amount of points; almost like a race win.  I think our main goal is the race.  Getting into the Top Nine was a big achievement, I think we'll take whatever we can tomorrow but still going to try and go for it and get as high as possible."

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Volume 2016, Issue 5, Posted 11:21 AM, 05.22.2016