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

MRTI: Telitz gets creative to help racing career

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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To say that Belardi Auto Racing’s Aaron Telitz has endured a difficult start to the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season would be an understatement. The Wisconsin native only completed four corners through the first three races – Races 1 and 2 at St. Petersburg, and Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park – with St. Pete being especially problematic.

He took the pole for Race 1, but a crash during qualifying for Race 2 prevented him from actually starting. What’s more, the damage was so severe that the Belardi team needed a brand new chassis, with Telitz’s Dallara IL-15 damaged beyond repair.

They also had to borrow a car from Carlin for Race 2, but Telitz’s race ended after he got tangled up with Victor Franzoni in Turn 2 on Lap 1.

With the damage bill well into the six figures as a result, Telitz has taken to some unique, or rather, creative ways to raise money in the aftermath to help cover the costs. “Creative,” in this case, meaning Telitz is using his art skills.

An artist in his spare time, Telitz has begun selling his own original paintings to help raise money.

 “I’ve been to a lot of art shows and I see stuff and I go, ‘Holy cow, someone’s going to pay a thousand dollars for that thing?’” Telitz quipped in a story posted on the Milwaukee Journal.

In discussing his artistic abilities, Telitz added, “I’m working at getting better. I’d like to be able to paint some animals, those types of things. I got a request from Alexander Rossi to see if I could paint his dog. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet.”

Further, in a partnership with The Styled Garage, Telitz is selling his own merchandise, and accepting donations, to help his cause.

Telitz finished fourth in Race 2 at Barber on Sunday, and sits seventh in the Indy Lights championship, 59 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.

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