Indy 500 qualifying update (2 p.m. ET)

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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 [500] 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

Hamilton leads damp first USGP practice at COTA, Hartley debuts

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Lewis Hamilton continued his impressive Formula 1 record at the Circuit of The Americas by topping opening practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday for Mercedes.

A four-time winner of the USGP at COTA, Hamilton set the pace in damp conditions in first practice after rain hit the Austin area in the lead-up to the start of the session.

After initially venturing out on intermediate tires, Hamilton made the switch to super-softs at the halfway point in FP1, ultimately posting a fastest time of 1:36.335.

Hamilton’s time saw him finish over half a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who he could beat to the F1 drivers’ championship at COTA this weekend should results go his way.

Mercedes got two cars into the top three as Valtteri Bottas wound up third in the second W08 car, six-tenths back from Hamilton, while Max Verstappen ended FP1 fourth for Red Bull.

Felipe Massa led Williams into the top 10 with an impressive lap en route to fifth, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vandoorne was left to lead McLaren’s charge after a hydraulic leak sidelined Fernando Alonso for much of the session, limiting the Spaniard to just four laps in total.

Force India managed to get both its drivers up into the top 10 as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished eighth and ninth respectively, edging out Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. who was P10 in his first appearance for the team.

Brendon Hartley enjoyed his first run-out in Toro Rosso’s STR12 car ahead of his grand prix debut on Sunday, taking P14 overall.

The New Zealander had not driven an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 2012, but put in a solid first display in practice, even though his race hopes are set to be hindered by a grid penalty.

Second practice for the United States Grand Prix is live on the NBC Sports app from 3pm ET today.