INDIANAPOLIS – Ed Carpenter felt on Saturday that he had a run for the pole if Sunday’s weather allowed him to. See, if the rain didn’t let up, he would be happy as a car owner to see his driver Spencer Pigot start first in next Sunday’s 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network). If the rain stopped and the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval was able to be dried, then he had a chance to earn his fourth pole in seven years here.
Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, he came up just short and I do mean, just short.
Carpenter, turned in a four-lap average of 229.889 mph in his No. 20 Chevrolet. The only one to top that was Simon Pagenaud who went 229.992 mph in his No. 22 Chevrolet. That’s 0.103 mph off.
“Simon (Pagenaud) was just more consistent,” said Carpenter after earning the second starting spot. “I think I had the fastest lap of qualifying and usually that’s a good sign for the pole, but I’ve also won a couple of my poles and not had the fastest lap. So he was just a little more consistent than me, and that’s why he deserves to be on the pole.”
Carpenter, did set the quick lap of 230.372 mph. He also went 230.023 mph on the second lap. But, on lap three, he fell to 229.656 mph then to 229.509 mph.
Pagenaud, was at 230.119 mph then 230.011 mph, then up to 230.110 mph and 229.729 mph in the final lap. That consistency was the absolute difference. Carpenter said, that’s just the nature of how competitive the series is these days.
“That’s the way this series is now, said Carpenter. “Everything is just thousandths and hundredths of a second all the way through. The battle that you saw for guys fighting for the 30th spot yesterday, the ninth spot yesterday and now today, the strength of this series between the teams and drivers from top to bottom, you’ve got to be perfect to really put it together because if you’re not, everything is so tight you’re going to slide down, and that’s what’s great about being a part of the NTT IndyCar Series is it’s really the best competition in the world.”
Carpenter, settles for his fifth top two start in his last seven tries here. Now, can he get his first career Indy win next Sunday?