Carpenter: We have everything we need to fight for Indy pole

Ed Carpenter Racing blew apart the theory that Chevrolet was underperforming at high boost levels in Indy this year, when it qualified fourth and fifth ahead of tomorrow’s Fast Nine shootout.

Carpenter: We have everything we need to fight for Indy pole

The only team owner/driver in the field went out 19th as the track was heating up, yet turned in a four-lap run that put him third fastest at the time, behind only Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan. Later he was pushed down to fourth by the even swifter Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport.

Yet almost as impressive was one of his teammates, Grand Prix of Indy winner Rinus VeeKay who initially went 12th but then vaulted up to fifth as the track temperatures rose still higher. It means the pair of them will take part in the one-run-and-done Fast Nine battle for pole tomorrow afternoon.

Read Also:

“It was nice to get two of our cars in,” said Carpenter, who has three poles and two more front-row starts to his name in the Indy 500. “Wasn't sure how it was going to shake out after yesterday. The team did a nice job. Chevrolet gave us what we needed there. Excited to be in the fight for tomorrow.

“I think some years more so than others, it's helpful to start as far forward as you can. It's hard to pass. As much as anything, just trying to put ourselves in the best position for next Sunday…

I think we have just as good a shot at winning pole tomorrow as any of these guys. I've been in this position enough times before. That's the beauty of qualifying here, you have to go out and do four laps. We only get one chance at it tomorrow. That amps up the pressure again. Everyone has to make what they think is the best decision. After we all run four laps, we'll find out who is the best.

“For me, we have everything we need to go fight for it. That's what we'll do.”

Carpenter’s and VeeKay’s performance, along with those of Arrow McLaren SP’s two fulltime drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist (12th and 14th respectively), has deflated the argument that Penske’s lack of pace – 17th, 21st, 26th and one not-yet qualified  – could be blamed on Chevrolet lacking performance at 1.5-bar boost. Asked what his team has found that other Chevy teams had not, Carpenter said, “It's a hard question to answer.”

He continued: “I think everybody at our team – engineers, mechanics – do a phenomenal job of getting prepared for here, put us in position. Days like today, when it goes well, the driving part is easier than the years where you qualify middle of the pack around here.

“I don't know what we found that other guys didn't just because you don't ever know that. But I'm thankful that we do have a good team and people that have done a good job to put us in this position.”

Carpenter then praised VeeKay, who won the IndyCar Series rookie of the year title last year, for his startling improvement at the Speedway in the heat of the day.

“I'm pretty proud of him overcoming the testing accident he had here in April, shrugging that off,” he said. “I think that shows what he's made of, how resilient he is.

“I thought he did a great job to go out back when he did and better himself. He was outside [the Fast Nine] looking in. He got back in. He's doing a great job.”

Carpenter, a proud Indiana resident albeit born in Kentucky, also made a point of mentioning his and wife Heather’s daughter, Makenna for her sporting achievement this weekend.

“I also want to congratulate my daughter publicly,” said the proud father. “She won the middle school state championship today in pole vaulting – jumped 10 feet. I'm very proud of her. It's a big day for the Carpenters.”

An impressed Colton Herta, sitting next to Carpenter, said, “Six inches off the state record, right?”

“Six inches off the national record,” smiled Carpenter. “She's a stud… She's smarter than me, more talented. She did set the state record. That's in the books!”

shares
comments

Related video

Dixon thrilled by team, admits to nerves before qualifying
Previous article

Dixon thrilled by team, admits to nerves before qualifying

Next article

Castroneves, Jones, Fittipaldi become stars of Indy qualifying

Castroneves, Jones, Fittipaldi become stars of Indy qualifying
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021