INDIANAPOLIS — Ed Carpenter turned Pole Day into a family celebration.
The stepson of IndyCar founder Tony George became the first member of the Hulman family to win the biggest pre-race event in the series — the Indianapolis 500 pole.
Carpenter produced a stunning finish to a day that was rife with suspense but lacked surprise. His four-lap average of 228.762 mph was quick enough to break up what appeared to be a Team Penske-Andretti Autosport lock on the front three rows in the nine-car shootout for the pole.
Somehow, Carpenter, who owns his team, beat the big-name guys.
“To be a single-car team in this Chevy shootout, I am going to call it fighting with the Penske and Andretti guys,” said Carpenter, whose pit crew carried him off pit road on their shoulders after an agonizing wait to see if his time would hold up.
The soft-spoken Carpenter grew up around the 2.5-mile Brickyard, dreaming of the moment he could stand in Victory Lane. Perhaps that will happen May 26.
Carpenter was followed by three of Michael Andretti’s five drivers — rookie Carlos Munoz of Colombia, Marco Andretti and Venezuelan E.J. Viso took the next three spots. Munoz’s average of 228.342 was a tick better than Marco Andretti’s 228.261.
Another Indy rookie, AJ Allmendinger, will start fifth, the highest qualifier for Roger Penske’s team.
Will Power went into the shootout as the favorite after going 228.844 but wound up starting sixth, the outside of Row 2 after slowing to 227.246 mph on the final run of the day.