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.

source:

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

Force’s daughter, Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, suffered a hard wreck at Pomona, but recovered in time to race this weekend in Phoenix.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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