Carpenter: We have everything we need to fight for Indy pole

Ed Carpenter Racing blew apart the theory that Chevrolet was underperforming at high boost levels in Indy this year, when it qualified fourth and fifth ahead of tomorrow’s Fast Nine shootout.

Carpenter: We have everything we need to fight for Indy pole

The only team owner/driver in the field went out 19th as the track was heating up, yet turned in a four-lap run that put him third fastest at the time, behind only Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan. Later he was pushed down to fourth by the even swifter Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport.

Yet almost as impressive was one of his teammates, Grand Prix of Indy winner Rinus VeeKay who initially went 12th but then vaulted up to fifth as the track temperatures rose still higher. It means the pair of them will take part in the one-run-and-done Fast Nine battle for pole tomorrow afternoon.

Read Also:

“It was nice to get two of our cars in,” said Carpenter, who has three poles and two more front-row starts to his name in the Indy 500. “Wasn't sure how it was going to shake out after yesterday. The team did a nice job. Chevrolet gave us what we needed there. Excited to be in the fight for tomorrow.

“I think some years more so than others, it's helpful to start as far forward as you can. It's hard to pass. As much as anything, just trying to put ourselves in the best position for next Sunday…

I think we have just as good a shot at winning pole tomorrow as any of these guys. I've been in this position enough times before. That's the beauty of qualifying here, you have to go out and do four laps. We only get one chance at it tomorrow. That amps up the pressure again. Everyone has to make what they think is the best decision. After we all run four laps, we'll find out who is the best.

“For me, we have everything we need to go fight for it. That's what we'll do.”

Carpenter’s and VeeKay’s performance, along with those of Arrow McLaren SP’s two fulltime drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist (12th and 14th respectively), has deflated the argument that Penske’s lack of pace – 17th, 21st, 26th and one not-yet qualified  – could be blamed on Chevrolet lacking performance at 1.5-bar boost. Asked what his team has found that other Chevy teams had not, Carpenter said, “It's a hard question to answer.”

He continued: “I think everybody at our team – engineers, mechanics – do a phenomenal job of getting prepared for here, put us in position. Days like today, when it goes well, the driving part is easier than the years where you qualify middle of the pack around here.

“I don't know what we found that other guys didn't just because you don't ever know that. But I'm thankful that we do have a good team and people that have done a good job to put us in this position.”

Carpenter then praised VeeKay, who won the IndyCar Series rookie of the year title last year, for his startling improvement at the Speedway in the heat of the day.

“I'm pretty proud of him overcoming the testing accident he had here in April, shrugging that off,” he said. “I think that shows what he's made of, how resilient he is.

“I thought he did a great job to go out back when he did and better himself. He was outside [the Fast Nine] looking in. He got back in. He's doing a great job.”

Carpenter, a proud Indiana resident albeit born in Kentucky, also made a point of mentioning his and wife Heather’s daughter, Makenna for her sporting achievement this weekend.

“I also want to congratulate my daughter publicly,” said the proud father. “She won the middle school state championship today in pole vaulting – jumped 10 feet. I'm very proud of her. It's a big day for the Carpenters.”

An impressed Colton Herta, sitting next to Carpenter, said, “Six inches off the state record, right?”

“Six inches off the national record,” smiled Carpenter. “She's a stud… She's smarter than me, more talented. She did set the state record. That's in the books!”

shares
comments

Related video

Dixon thrilled by team, admits to nerves before qualifying

Previous article

Dixon thrilled by team, admits to nerves before qualifying

Next article

Castroneves, Jones, Fittipaldi become stars of Indy qualifying

Castroneves, Jones, Fittipaldi become stars of Indy qualifying
Load comments
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious? Prime

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 25, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Prime

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there? By David Malsher-Lopez.

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Prime

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021