Carpenter fastest, Alonso locked into the Top 9 at Indy

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Photos by Doug Patterson, Words by Tom Firth


The format at the Indianapolis 500 is unique for qualifications, compared to the rest of the Verizon Indycar Series season. Qualifying itself is a spectacle on this weekend and the first of the two qualification days is simply deciding who is locked into the top 9 for tomorrow’s pole day and who will have to try for positions 10-33.  Today does not, therefore, set the grid for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 in its entirety.

On the FBC Indi podcast, based on the weather forecast we predicted that IMS would be hit by heavy rain during the qualifications weekend and even speculated that qualifications may have to be run on Monday.

[singlepic id=1970 w=300 h=200 float=left] As is evident by FBC’s Doug Patterson’s photo of the famous IMS Pagoda, the rain did arrive at IMS as predicted. Morning practice before qualifications began, saw very few takers as the weather began to close in on the Speedway. Eventually arriving in full force, fifteen minutes before qualifications were set to begin. 

This resulted in an extremely lengthy delay with today’s qualification action starting at 4 pm, as opposed to 11 am. The Speedway, therefore, made the decision that it would remain open later than 6 pm to allow for all 33 entrants to have a one shot 4 lap qualifying run to determine if they make the top 9 for tomorrow’s fast 9 or would have to qualify tomorrow in the 10-33 spots. 

This was a format change from what is generally expected of the first day of qualifications. The standard format is that teams are given multiple attempts on Saturday and a once and done, 4 lap average run on Sunday.

As a result, we saw some surprises in qualifications. Team Penske for example only got one of their four cars into the top 9 qualifying tomorrow, with Will Power placing his car 6th. He has a chance to improve that spot to the pole tomorrow. 

It was Ed Carpenter, who was fastest through. This wasn’t in itself a great surprise. It is almost expected that Carpenter is either near or at the front in qualifications at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his eponymous team, but with the struggles of Chevrolet, at least with Team Penske, the expectation was slightly tempered. However, Carpenter delivered for Chevrolet, placing his car 1st in the standings.
Fernando Alonso placed his Mclaren-Andretti Honda in the 7th spot, securing his place in the Top 9 for tomorrow, ensuring the F1 World champion has a chance to go for pole position when these times are deleted tomorrow. A fantastic run by Alonso, given his lack of oval racing experience. Last year’s Rookie winner Alexander Rossi also made the Top 9. 

2015-PoleDay_05-20-17_018_Indy500The only on-track accident was a horrible accident for Dale Coyne racing pilot Sebastien Bourdais who hit the wall, hard in Turn 2. He was transferred to Methodist hospital by Ambulance as a result. Pictured is Bourdais starting the qualifying run. 

Tomorrow we set the grid for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Bold = Can go for Pole tomorrow

  1. Ed Carpenter – ECR Chevrolet – 230.468mph
  2. Takuma Sato – Andretti Autosport Honda
  3. Scott Dixon – Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  4. JR Hildebrand – ECR Chevrolet
  5. Alexander Rossi – Andretti Autosport Honda
  6. Will Power – Team Penske Chevrolet
  7. Fernando Alonso – Mclaren Andretti Honda
  8. Tony Kanaan – Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  9. Marco Andretti – Andretti Autosport Honda
  10. Ed Jones – Dale Coyne Racing Honda
  11. Charlie Kimball – Chip Ganassi Honda
  12. Max Chilton – Chip Ganassi Honda
  13. Ryan Hunter-Reay – Andretti Autosport Honda
  14. Helio Castroneves – Team Penske Chevrolet
  15. Mikhail Aleshin – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
  16. Graham Rahal – RLL Honda
  17. Josef Newgarden – Team Penske Chevrolet
  18. Juan Pablo Montoya – Team Penske Chevrolet
  19. James Hinchcliffe – Schmidt Honda
  20. Simon Pagenaud – Team Penske Chevrolet
  21. Sage Karam – Dreyer and Reinbold Chevrolet
  22. Jay Howard – Schmidt Honda
  23. Carlos Munoz – Foyt Chevrolet
  24. Gabby Chaves – Harding Racing Chevrolet
  25. Oriol Servia – RLL Honda
  26. Jack Harvey – Andretti Autosport Honda
  27. Conor Daly – Foyt Chevrolet
  28. Sebastian Saavedra – Juncos Racing Chevrolet
  29. Spencer Pigot – Juncos Racing Chevrolet
  30. Buddy Lazier – Lazier Partners  Chevrolet
  31. Pippa Mann – Dale Coyne Honda. 

Sebastien Bourdais didn’t qualify due to his accident and Zach Veach did not complete a qualifying run after his crash on Friday during Practice.  Full timing results are available.

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Don Thorpe
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Don Thorpe

Usually I will check Sunday afternoon to see who won it Indy. This year with Alonso running I’ve watched and read everything I can find about it. I would be willing to bet that there are a lot more people paying attention this year then have in the past.

Tom Firth
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Tom Firth

I’m interested to see that whilst Honda seems to have the upper hand in terms of general pace, ECR’s cars aside. I wonder if they’ve got the reliability to match. It appears thus far this month that they do not, and that a fairly high reliability risk is in existence for the Honda entrants. This may be Chevrolet’s advantage on race day.