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.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.