Carpenter goes back-to-back for Indianapolis 500 poles

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Ed Carpenter has snatched the pole position for the 98th Indianapolis 500, with the final attempt in the Fast Nine Shootout during Sunday’s pole day of qualifying.

“It was a harder run than last year,” Carpenter said after completing his run. “I wish we could have got JR (Hildebrand, teammate) up there too. We missed on his balance. But it was a benefit to make the fix on mine. The conditions, this is the most different it’s been. A lot more inconsistencies over four laps. I was just hanging on and that was enough. It was awesome to do this two in a row.”

With a speed of 231.067, Carpenter has back-to-back pole positions in the race. Helio Castroneves was last to achieve the feat in 2009 and 2010.

Carpenter, in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, bumped James Hinchcliffe, whose 230.839 average was quickest until that run.

Hinchcliffe had to crack the throttle on his final lap, and the drop-off of 229.819 on his last lap compared to 230.846 for Carpenter was enough to make the difference.

“I think we knew Ed would be the car to beat,” Hinchcliffe admitted. “Ed was quickest both runs yesterday. Coming into this, we were runnig for second. The car was a handful, but that’s what you need. My car got loose on entry. Then I had to crack the throttle. I’m disappointed to not just stick it flat. But a week ago, you saw where I was, so I can’t complain. I’m so proud of Andretti Autosport, I can’t take any credit, it’s more (teammates) Marco (Andretti), Ryan (Hunter-Reay), EJ (Viso), Kurt (Busch), Carlos (Munoz).”

Points leader Will Power will have the outside of the front row.

Row 2 sees the lone multiple Indianapolis 500 race winner in the field, Helio Castroneves, alongside Grand Prix of Indianapolis winner Simon Pagenaud and former ‘500 Rookie-of-the-Year Marco Andretti.

The final three in the Fast Nine shootout, Carlos Munoz (22), Josef Newgarden (23), and JR Hildebrand (26) are combined only 71 years old, and that will probably be the youngest row in the field.

Here’s the front three rows. Meanwhile here’s spots 10-33.

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Weather prompts INDYCAR to move up start time of today’s race in Alabama

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The scheduled starting time for today’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park has been moved up due to inclement weather in the Birmingham, Alabama area.

The command to start engines is now scheduled for 3:01 p.m. ET, rather than the previous scheduled start of 3:35 p.m. ET. The race, which is expected to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET,  will be carried live on NBCSN.

In addition, the INDY LIGHTS race, previously scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET, saw its starting time moved up to 11:45 a.m. ET.

According to several different weather forecasts, thunderstorms are predicted for the afternoon, with some forecasts calling for up to 100 percent chance of storms.

The rain is expected to continue into the evening and on into Monday.

INDYCAR officials are monitoring the very fluid situation and further schedule adjustments could be made.

We’ll keep readers up to date on further changes here on MotorSportsTalk.