Ed Carpenter: Poles are nice, but my emphasis is winning Indy 500

first_img(Greg Hester, USA TODAY Sports)(Greg Hester, USA TODAY Sports)INDIANAPOLIS 500 QUALIFYING GUIDESaturdayTime/TV: 10:50 a.m.-5:50 p.m. ET (11-3, ESPN3; 4-6, ABC). Fast facts: The field is winnowed to 33 starters. Drivers must post a four-lap qualifying speed among the nine fastest in order to advance to Sunday’s Fast Nine.SundayTime/TV: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET (10-noon, ESPN3; 1-3, ABC). Fast facts: The pole and starting order is determined. Only drivers in the Fast Nine – which sets the first three rows — have a chance at the pole. Ed Carpenter at Indianapolis 500 practice Thursday. (Michael Conroy, AP)Ed Carpenter at Indianapolis 500 practice Thursday. (Michael Conroy, AP)INDIANAPOLIS — Ed Carpenter is steeped enough in Indianapolis 500 lore to understand the historical importance of winning a record third consecutive pole for open-wheel racing’s greatest race. That is, he knows it means very little.“It’s definitely a topic of conversation this week,” IndyCar’s only driver/owner told USA TODAY Sports. “I think if that’s something that can happen, it would be cool, but winning the last two poles and leaving the month of May not winning the race, it’s been pretty disappointing.”The C in CFH Racing — after merging his team with that of former driver Sarah Fisher and businessman Willis “Wink” Hartman — and stepson of IndyCar founder Tony George, Carpenter last season became the 11th driver to win consecutive Indy 500 poles.Carpenter is undertaking his first of six races after delegating the street/road course portion of the 16-event schedule to Luca Filippi. Carpenter won at Texas Motor Speedway in 2014 utilizing Mike Conway in Filippi’s role.CARPENTER: Shifts gears between owning, drivingThe end was not nearly as heartening as the start in either of the last two 500s. Carpenter crashed on Lap 175 last year, finishing 27th. He was 10th in 2013.“The poles didn’t mean much at that point,” Carpenter said. “If I happens it happens. If not, no big deal. My emphasis on the whole month is the race.”IndyCar has retained the non-traditional qualifying format adopted last season in which the field is winnowed on Saturday to 33 starters — there are just 34 entries — eliminating the anticlimax of a Sunday “Bump Day.” The fastest nine drivers from Saturday will contest the pole and spots 10 through 33 will be decided amongst everyone else.NEWGARDEN CRASH: CFH driver’s car flips during Thursday’s practiceWinning the pole has been no harbinger for Memorial Day glory since Helio Castroneves captured his third Borg-Warner Trophy from there in 2009, the 20th time in Indy 500 history a pole winner has won. Since then, Dario Franchitti is the only other driver to claim the win from better than fifth, winning from the third spot in 2010.Defending race-winner Ryan Hunter-Reay came from 19th to win last year, while in 2013 winner Tony Kanaan qualified 12th and Franchitti won his third installment in 2012 from 16th.Team owner Roger Penske, if he’s a superstitious man, might hope for a reversal of an early season trend as he seeks a record 16th Indy win. Though there has been a different winner in each of the first five IndyCar races, Team Penske has claimed every pole. Defending series champion Will Power took St. Petersburg and the Grand Prix of Indianapolis; Juan Pablo Montoya won the pole at Avondale, La.; and three-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves started up front at Long Beach and Birmingham, Ala.last_img

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