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

Ed Carpenter fastest on first day of qualifying for Indy 500

Leave a comment

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.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.