Chevy’s Ed Carpenter fastest on Day One of qualifying for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500

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Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Chevrolet, was third quickest with a four-lap average of 230.432 mph.

INDIANAPOLIS – Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet, set the benchmark on the first day of qualifying for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500. With a four-lap average of 230.661, the 2012 pole sitter ended the day on top of the scoring pylon.

Making the day even sweeter for team owner Carpenter was the fact that JR Hildebrand put the second Ed Carpenter Racing entry in the Fast Nine Shootout. The driver of the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet ran the ninth quickest average at 230.027 mph.

Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Chevrolet, was third quickest with a four-lap average of 230.432 mph.

Giving Team Chevy four entries in the Fast Nine Shootout for the Verizon P1 Award was Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, who turned a four-lap average of 230.323 mph.

Qualifying concludes Sunday, May 18 with another qualifying session to determine final starting positions, and culminating with the Fast Nine Shootout to determine the pole sitter. Tomorrow's qualifying to determine the pole and the final grid positions begins at 10:15 a.m. ET and will also be broadcast live on ABC from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 QUALIFYING FORMAT:

SUNDAY QUALIFYING

Group 1:

All Saturday times are erased and positions 10-33 will re-qualify to determine starting position.

Order will be the reverse of Saturday's rankings.

Lineup will be determined based on fastest four-lap averages.

In the event that there are only 33 cars entered, this group will determine positions 10-33.

Group 2:

The top nine cars will run in reverse order based on Saturday's times.

All cars will make one attempt.

At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-9 based on their four-lap average during the segment to run the Fast Nine Shootout

The 2014 Indianapolis 500 will be the 98th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." It has been held every year since the first race in 1911 except the war years of 1917-1918 and 1942-1945. The race will take place May 25, 2014, and will be broadcast live on ABC beginning at 11 a.m. (ET).

DRIVER QUOTES – TEAM CHEVY DRIVERS IN THE FAST NINE SHOOTOUT:

ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – FASTEST ON QUALIFYING DAY NUMBER ONE

JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 21 PREFERRED FREEZER ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – NINTH QUICKEST ON QUALIFYING DAY NUMBER ONE

BOTH ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET’S WILL COMPETE TOMORROW FOR THE VERIZON P1 AWARD IN THE FAST NINE SHOOTOUT FOR THE 98TH RUNNING OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500

YOU TURNED IN ONE HECK OF A LAP...
ED CARPENTER: “Yeah I was hoping to only have to do that once today, but as it turned out we needed to do it twice just to have some security. Really happy both of our cars made it in. I think it was an exciting day to have five different teams represented in the top nine. More than probably what I expected going into today. I thank the speedway and the series it should be exciting.”

I WOULD IMAGINE WHEN YOU SAW RYAN HUNTER-REAY GO OUT THERE WITH JUST A MATTER OF A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO GO IT WAS A LITTLE BIT HOLDING YOUR BREATH...

JR HILDEBRAND: “Yeah I was having a little miniature freak out in the helmet. I mean when I saw (Josef) Newgarden go out and he went faster by like a little tiny bit like six feet after four laps or something that pissed me off. Then when Ryan Hunter-Reay went out honestly I thought at that point it was over. We were out of time and he has had speed. But the Andretti cars were kind of all over the place so we didn’t really know. That was obviously a massive relief when we saw the lap times starting to come down a little bit. I know I owe all this to Ed (Carpenter) and the ECR (Ed Carpenter Racing) for the work. We all know that the speed in these cars doesn’t come through the week it comes from all the prep that goes on beforehand and they gave me a great car. I think tomorrow we will have to go out first, but we definitely got some more speed I think that we can squeeze out of it. We will see what we’ve got.”

AFTER ALL THAT YOU WENT THROUGH TODAY WHAT IS IT GOING TO BE LIKE TO DO ALL OF THIS AGAIN TOMORROW?

ED CARPENTER: “Personally I’ve been in every shoot out, but one since they started the shootouts. I have fun with it. I mean everyone is out there you have one shot at it. For the most part we all get along all the drivers. It’s a good time. It’s one and done you’ve got to nail it and it’s more pressure a day like today when you go do a run and for me I was the fifth car out and sat around all day. Thought we were probably going to be okay and then it’s like ‘oh crap the track is getting faster we are going to have to probably make another run’. I’m glad we made another run I think it helped us be better prepared for tomorrow because like I said we only get one shot at it. We’ve got to get it right. The engineers have got to get it right and that is what we did last year so we will see if we can put both of us up front.”

ANY MOMENTS YOU HAD TO REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU DIDN’T WIN THE POLE?

ED CARPENTER: “No, but I was thinking about how many points we were going to win today. Not mad about that.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS TEAM HAS A LITTLE BIT OF AN EDGE WHEN IT COMES TO QUALIFYING?

ED CARPENTER: “I think there are five teams in the top nine and I think there are probably 15 guys that could win the race. I think there are a lot of people with good opportunities here. I like where we are sitting. I think JR (Hildebrand) was one turn away from winning this race so he knows how to get in position to do that. He’s been there. We had some success last year just didn’t do well enough when it counted at the end. I think both of us like this place and are comfortable here. We have fast cars now it’s just a matter of continuing to execute and make good decisions.”

YOU SAT ON THE POLE LAST YEAR YOU CAN START NO WORSE THAN THE THIRD ROW THIS YEAR. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE KEY FOR YOUR SMALL TEAM TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT WELL IN QUALIFICATIONS?

ED CARPENTER: “Our people is the easy answer beyond that we’ve got great sponsors on the team. Fuzzy’s has been with us since the very start. I wouldn’t be here without them they are great partners and now bringing JR (Hildebrand) on with Preferred Freeze and Dean and CSC. Those guys have allowed us to grow. With the way this month has played out having a second car here has been crucial to being prepared with the short days we have had just blessed to have good partners and good people.”

AFTER LAST YEAR YOU SAID YOU WERE UPSET THAT YOU WERE SO QUICK THEN THE RACE WENT WRONG. ALL THIS WEEK YOU AND JR HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT DOING RACE SET-UP’S. IS THIS PACE THAT WE SEE TODAY IS THAT A BYPRODUCT OF YOU WORKING ON EVERYTHING OR DO YOU HAVE A QUALIFYING SET-UP IN THE BAG AS WELL?

ED CARPENTER: “When you are working on race set-up’s when I talk about it you are constantly trying to find grip in the car. You are trying to find ways to make your car handle better in dirty air. We weren’t bad last year I mean we led the most laps in the race. It wasn’t that our car was bad it was more of we made a couple of decisions that I think if we could have changed it we would have been in a better position. We came in with a good car and a good package from last year. Like I said with the second car here we have been able to try some more things than what we did last year. I think when you find grip out of the car and get it working better mechanically it just makes it that much better when you do trim out to go fast. A lot of the speed is found in the race shop working on all the details of the car.”

BOTH OF YOU ARE USED TO BEING ON SINGLE CAR TEAMS. CAN YOU BOTH TALK ABOUT THE TEAM WORK EFFORT AND IF YOU ARE WORKING TOGETHER HOW THAT IS GOING:

JR HILDEBRAND: “This is not because my boss is sitting next to me here, but it’s gone incredibly well from my perspective. I’ve been in situations where we have had teammates for this race or sort of pseudo teammates during a year. Until this week I have never worked so closely with another driver, but another whole team of people and engineering staff and all that kind of stuff. That have worked so closely together to try to solve the same problems basically. From my view as we have gone along here this week the two cars have constantly been coming back together. He (Ed) goes and does something and it’s better we are both looking for the same things out of the car. If he goes and does something that is better nine times out of 10 we have thrown that on my car just gone out not even had to test it and it’s been good. That I think has especially given the limited running that we’ve had because of weather to Ed’s point earlier has made this a much easier process getting through all that stuff. I think that I feel like we have strong equipment, strong people and like I said I have not worked together with another driver ever to this level. It’s been all good and we really owe a lot of that again to the folks that are around the team.”

ED CARPENTER: “I agree with JR on that. We’ve got great people on the team that don’t have egos. Everyone wants to succeed and wants to see the whole team do well and help each other. Going back to the Grand Prix of Indy last weekend, Mike Conway got caught up in that first lap crash. Every person in the garage was working on the car. JR’s crew guys were back there just doing some stuff on his car getting ready for practice the next day and they all jumped right in. They are guys that aren’t full-time. They don’t work for us year round, but they are great guys and they have bought into what we are doing. And beyond that I think this was a long process JR and I started talking last June more in July trying to figure out a way to work together. We train at the same place until he moved to Colorado. It wasn’t like we just showed up here and met for the first time. We’ve been talking about this for a while. I think that is a big part of why it’s gone well also.”

DID YOU HAVE A FEELING WHEN YOU RAN 230 YESTERDAY YOU PROBABLY HAD THE MOST SPEED OF ANYONE OUT THERE?

ED CARPENTER: “No, I didn’t run this morning; we were the only two cars not to go out this morning. To be honest I was much happier with my car Thursday afternoon than I was the 19 minutes we did last night. The time looked really good, but it wasn’t the best run we have had. I had a couple of questions and I’m glad we went out in those conditions we learned a couple of things, but I wasn’t sure, especially when we skipped the morning warm-up. I felt like we had a whole lot of competition going into it. I wasn’t sure we were going to go 230 our first round. I was relieved when we did. To be honest I didn’t think going into qualifying that I was going to see 230.

WHAT IS THE FUTURE POSSIBLY FOR THIS SECOND TEAM?

ED CARPENTER: “I mean we’ve wanted to expand for a long time. Maintaining the second car beyond here just comes down to having the funding in place to do it and being able to staff up permanently for that. Running a second car at Indy is easier than other places because you don’t have to have quite as much equipment. You don’t have to worry about transportation equipment and all that just because we can shuttle it out here. We would like to grow and hopefully it happens sometime whether it’s this year or next year, but we will worry about that after we figure out a way to win the race.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PENNZOIL ULTRA PLATINUM TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3RD: YOU MUST BE HAPPY: “Yes. Certainly every time you get a position of being in the top-nine, it helps a lot. If you are talking about points, it helps a lot; especially for the people who are battling in the championship. That is certainly great. I’m happy. The Pennzoil No. 3 guys did a fantastic job. Every time we went out there, it was improving. We went from 229 to 230 (mph). I know one mile-an-hour means nothing, but especially today, look at that, the top-nine over 230 (mph). We are talking about less than a .2 mph that can be on pole position. It is going to be interesting tomorrow.”

DO YOU LIKE THE NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT? “It is the first one, and I think when everything is new, there is adjustment. It is exciting I have to say. We went out there, and we kept pushing ourselves. Everybody actually pushing each other. Look at the times. I’m the traditional guy, it’s a different way. But, I feel that the fans enjoyed it. We broke the 230 mph. It is a plus. If we have to make some changes, we will. But right now I think everybody is happy.”

“I did remind myself (that there was still tomorrow) every time I was going out there, because from first to ninth is extremely close. Tomorrow, I think, is going to be the same. Sounds like the weather might play a little factor because not being quite as cold as today which probably masked a lot of areas that sometimes you are really going low downforce…that could be tough. Let’s see. Right now we are sitting good but we still have some work to do. Hopefully tomorrow that work would pay off.”

WHAT WAS DIFFERENT ABOUT YOUR CAR WHEN YOU DID YOUR BEST LAPS? “We were just looking for speed. I was very surprised with my first run to be honest because the car was spot-on, and I just didn’t understand why we didn’t go as fast as at least the second run to be honest. We just kept ourselves cool, and we knew where we had to go. I think the track was getting a little bit better for consistency. It helped a lot of people, including us. It was a combination of a lot of things. When you are talking about less than .2 mile-an-hour, if it’s a blow of wind or a fart (LAUGHS) it makes a difference.”

ON HOW THE SMALLER TEAMS CAN MAKE A BIG STATEMENT HERE: “It is a credit to the engine manufacturers too. Obviously they seem to be pushing each other in a way it is keeping things very close. Also the Series, it is a spec series so the limits of what we can do and change and touch, is very…so even the big teams are finding it difficult to separate themselves. Certainly the smaller teams, you can see the field is getting so tight, if they have a good organization, they can be battling with the big teams, and I think that is the credit for the small teams.”

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE AT THE START OF HAVING CLEAN AIR VERSUS BEING MID-PACK? “Even though I started the race 13th, I won the race in 2002, but the point is you want to eliminate some kind of issues. Sometimes people try to pass in places when it is still too early and you get caught in the middle. When you eliminate that kind of scenario, your chances of being there at the end become bigger. Those are the reasons that starting up front is a little more comfortable. But, it doesn’t mean anything to be honest because it is a 500 miles. It is a long race, and you can still win from the middle of the pack. Especially the way the series is right now, it is accomplishable.”

WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 5TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING ATTEMPT: “It was definitely a bit of a hectic day. Really amazing that it took a 230 miles per hour average to make it into the Firestone Fast Nine. But we did what we had to do and now we have a shot at the Indianapolis 500 pole award tomorrow. The No. 12 Verizon Chevy has obviously shown it has the speed to contend for the pole position.”

DRIVERS IN 10TH – 33RD:

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 13TH

SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 15TH

RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 8 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 17TH

CHARLIE KIMBALL,, NO. 83 NOVOLOG FLEXPEN CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 19TH

SAGE KARAM, NO. 22 COMFORT REVOLUTION/BRANTLEY GILBERT DREYER & REINBOLD KINGDOM RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 21ST

TOWNSEND BELL, NO. 6 ROBERT GRAHAM - KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 22ND

TONY KANAAN, NO. 10 TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 23RD

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 11 HYDROXYCUT/MISTIC E-CIGS – KVSH RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 24TH

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 17 AFS KV-AFS RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 26TH

JAMES DAVISON, NO. 33 KV RACING TECHNOLOGY/ALWAYS EVOLVING RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 28TH

TEAM Chevy

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Event Indy 500
Sub-event Saturday qualifying
Article type Qualifying report
Tags ed carpenter, helio castroneves, indy 500, indycar, jr hildebrand, will power