Carpenter (shown in practice) fastest today for ECR. Photo: IndyCar

Ed Carpenter fastest on first day of qualifying for Indy 500

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INDIANAPOLIS – Ed Carpenter uncorked a late four-lap average of 230.458 mph in his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet to defeat the noise and speed coming from Honda this week, to take the top spot in the first day of qualifying for next Sunday’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

With four incredibly consistent laps – all in the 39.0 second range – Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing teammate JR Hildebrand and Will Power were the three drivers in Chevrolets who made it into the Fast Nine shootout, and will thus compete for the pole position on Sunday.

Carpenter trimmed out with no winglets on his rear wing assembly.

Takuma Sato led the Honda runners at 230.382 mph, continuing a solid week in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda, and was second.

Scott Dixon was third, the early leader in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing at 230.333.

Fernando Alonso, the media star of the week, has lived up to the hype and made the Fast Nine Shootout in the No. 29 McLaren Honda Andretti entry. With a four-lap average of 230.034 mph, he was seventh.

Splitting Dixon – the four-time IndyCar champion and Alonso – the two-time Formula 1 World Champion, were Hildebrand in fourth, Alexander Rossi and Power in sixth.

After Alonso, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti also made it in.

The day was marred by a heavy accident for Sebastien Bourdais, who was reported awake & alert, having never lost consciousness, and transported to IU Methodist hospital. Bourdais uncorked two 231-plus mph laps, looking poised for provisional pole in the No. 18 GEICO Honda for Dale Coyne Racing, before his car came around and crashed heavily into the Turn 2 wall.

Speeds from today are below.

Video highlights from Stage 13 of the Dakar Rally

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Friday’s Stage 13 of the 40th Dakar Rally went from San Juan to Cordoba to set up the concluding stage of the event.

The video highlights of Stage 13 will air on NBCSN on Saturday at 6:30 pm ET, but here are some of the highlights from Friday:

CARS

Nassar Al-Attiyah strengthened his hold on second with a stage win as defending winner Stephane Peterhansel crashed in the penultimate stage.

BIKES

Toby Price won his second stage of the 2018 Dakar, his ninth overall, while Matthias Walkner retained the lead ahead of the final stage.

TRUCKS

Eduard Nikolaev continued to make a case for his second consecutive Dakar win after an epic battle to capture Stage 13.

QUADS

Jeremias Gonzalez took Stage 13 of the quads, tightening his grip on third overall in the 2018 Dakar Rally.