At the stroke of 2 p.m. ET, Indianapolis 500 rookie A.J. Allmendinger (pictured) was on the provisional pole for the 97th running of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing after posting a four-lap average of 227.761 miles per hour in the No. 2 IZOD Chevrolet.
Afterwards, the former Champ Car standout was decidedly emotional about the opportunity to not only race in the “500” for Team Penske but having a chance to be on the front row by the time this day ends.
“Some dark times last year — it was rough,” Allmendinger told NBC Sports Network’s Marty Snider following his run, referring to his suspension and release from Roger Penske’s NASCAR Sprint Cup operation last summer after failing a drug test.
“I never thought I’d be standing here on Indy  pole day, not just to be here, but to maybe be on the front row, be in the Fast Nine. It makes everything worth it. I can’t say how much Roger Penske means to me — what a man that guy is. It goes way beyond anything I can describe.”
Here’s how the speeds looked at 2 p.m. ET. Qualifying has been extended to 6 p.m. ET this afternoon, with the Fast Nine pole shootout set to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Indianapolis 500 Pole Day Results (2 p.m. ET)
1. 2-A.J. Allmendinger, 227.761 mph
2. 27-James Hinchcliffe, 227.493
3. 9-Scott Dixon, 226.158
4. 14-Takuma Sato, 225.892
5. 78-Simona de Silvestro, 225.400
6. 15-Graham Rahal, 225.139
7. 91-Buddy Lazier, 223.073