SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 20, 2018) – Pole Day Qualifying Notes
- For the third time in six years, Ed Carpenter has won the coveted pole position for the The Greatest Spectacle In Racing, the Indianapolis 500. Carpenter is the 2013, 2014 and 2018 Verizon P1 Award winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Chevrolets will fill three of the top seven starting positions in next Sunday’s 500-mile classic as Spencer Pigot earned his highest career starting position with 6th and Danica Patrick will roll off 7th as she concludes her racing career.
- Keeping with the same strategy as yesterday, Ed Carpenter Racing elected to sit out the practice session prior to qualifications as the team felt confident in their qualifying plan. The fastest nine drivers from yesterday’s Day 1 qualifications were locked into the field and advanced to today’s Fast Nine Shootout, including all three Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolets. Carpenter was the second-fastest driver yesterday with a four-lap average of 228.692 miles per hour. Pigot was 6th overall with a speed of 228.052 miles per hour while Patrick rounded out the Fast Nine at 227.610 miles per hour.
- After positions 10-33 were set in an earlier qualification session today, the Fast Nine Shootout began at 5 p.m. ET. Drivers in the Fast Nine had to make one four-lap attempt, in order based on slowest to fastest from yesterday’s qualifying times. Patrick was first out, Pigot hit the track 4th, and Carpenter was the second-to-last car to make a run at the 2018 Indy 500 pole position.
- Patrick took to the track directly at 5 p.m. ET for her run in her No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet. Her laps of 228.584, 228.305, 227.953 and 227.520 gave her a four-lap average of 228.091 miles per hour. Patrick will start from the inside of Row 3 in her final race, the Indianapolis 500.
- Spencer Pigot headed out on the 2.5-mile oval soon after in his No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet. His four laps boasted speeds of 228.709, 228.005, 227.961 and 227.755 for a four-lap average of 228.108 miles per hour. Pigot will start from the outside of Row 2 in the 6th position, his highest starting position of his Verizon IndyCar Series career.
- Carpenter, always a crowd favorite at IMS, set four laps of 230.088, 229.808, 229.519 and 229.061 with an average speed of 229.615 miles per hour. During yesterday’s attempt, he was the only driver to reach over 229 miles per hour in a single lap; today, he was the only driver to top 230 miles per hour. Carpenter’s last challenger came in the final qualifier, Helio Castroneves, but the Team Penske driver was not able to touch Carpenter’s speed. 2018 will be the fifth time in six years that Ed Carpenter Racing has had a car qualify on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 – four of those qualifying efforts coming from Carpenter in his No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodk.
- Ed Carpenter Racing earned the nickname “Team America” in 2015 when ECR was the only multi-car team with an all-American driver line up in the Indianapolis 500. The trend continues through 2018 as Team America’s Indy 500 roster features Pigot (Orlando, Fla.), Patrick (Roscoe, Ill.) and hometown favorite, Carpenter (Indianapolis).
- Though he has now shifted his driving focus exclusively to oval events, Carpenter remains the only individual in the Verizon IndyCar Series who handles both the responsibility of driving the racecar and owning his own team. Carpenter is now the pole winner for his 15th Indianapolis 500. Before today, he was a back-to-back pole winner for the Indianapolis 500, capturing the coveted first starting position in both 2013 and 2014. In 2017, Carpenter narrowly missed out another pole position and qualified second. The 2018 Indianapolis 500 pole is the fourth Verizon P1 Award of Carpenter’s Indy car career.
- After two seasons as road and street course driver of ECR’s No. 20, Pigot has been elevated to the season-long driver of ECR’s No. 21 for the 2018 season. After winning the Indy Lights championship in 2015, Pigot’s rookie Indianapolis 500 was contested with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2016 as part of a three-race scholarship. As ECR only entered two cars in 2017, Pigot joined Juncos Racing for last year’s race. In both of his previous attempts, Pigot qualified 29th. His 6th-place starting position for the Indianapolis 500 is the highest of his career, besting his 9th-place starting position from two weeks ago at the INDYCAR Grand Prix.
- Patrick announced her intentions to finish her racing career by competing in two final 500-mile races. Dubbed the “Danica Double,” she participated in the 2018 Daytona 500 in February and will now start 7th in the 2018 Indianapolis 500 with ECR. The 500-mile classic will also mark her return to the Verizon IndyCar Series, where she scored 63 top-10 finishes over a seven-year career before transitioning to stock car racing in 2012. Driving the lucky No. 13, Patrick’s final Indianapolis 500 will take place 13 years after her 2005 debut where she was awarded Rookie of the Year honors.
- Carpenter, Pigot and Patrick will hit the track again tomorrow for three and a half more hours of practice before embarking on three days of media and promotional activities. Final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place on Friday, May 25 during Carb Day festivities.
- The 102nd Running of the Indianapolis will commence at 11 a.m. ET on ABC with the green flag scheduled to fall at 12:21 p.m.
DANICA PATRICK, No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet (Qualified 7th): “Before I went out, I kept saying I wanted it to be a boring run, well as boring as it can be when you’re going 230 miles per hour or more. I just wanted everything to be predictable and flow really well. I was able to chase the car with my cockpit adjustments and try and keep the speed in the car the whole run. These are tough conditions when its hot and humid out here, and the wind is up a little, but overall, my run was as boring as you can possibly get. I’m happy with it, and looking forward to next Sunday.”
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet (Qualified 1st): “I’ve just got to thank my team. That first lap blew my mind. I figured we could run a 229 (mph) based on last night. My run last night actually wasn’t very good. The car wasn’t near as good as we’ve been. So, I knew had more left but I wasn’t expecting a 230 (mph), but the whole ECR team, especially the guys on my No. 20 car, they’ve put so much love into this car and it means everything to me to put us in a position like this. And to be able to share the top nine in this whole thing with Spencer (Pigot), his first time in the top nine with Preferred Freezer, and Danica (Patrick) with GoDaddy, we’re super happy to be here and obviously it couldn’t be possible without Fuzzy’s Vodka. Hopefully we can keep doing this a long time.”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet (Qualified 6th): “It feels great to be in an awesome qualifying run here. I have massively improved from every other time I’ve run in this race so I’m definitely excited about that and the potential for us here next Sunday. ECR has done a great job this year and our team is doing really well. I feel like Ed has a really good shot for this race, especially after last night, but then again, I think all three of the ECR drivers do. It’s really great to be apart of this team, and I’m excited for what is in store this year in Indy.”