Carpenter fastest in opening Qualifying; Alonso makes top nine shootout

Ed Carpenter was quickest in first qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Credit: David Yowe / IndyCar

Ed Carpenter surprised many by topping the first day of qualifying for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, with the popular American one of the last to run on Saturday.

Qualifying was delayed due to inclement weather at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which meant drivers only had one shot at putting together a qualifying run, with the top nine on Saturday advancing to the shootout for pole position on Sunday.

Carpenter, running for his own Ed Carpenter Racing squad, set a four-lap average of 230.468mph to top the session, with the #20 Chevrolet-powered Dallara pipping Andretti Autosport’s Takuma Sato to top spot.

Sato set a four-lap average of 230.382mph to finish ahead of Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing, who ran early and set an average of 230.333mph with the second Ed Carpenter Racing machine of JR Hildebrand fourth fastest, the American being the penultimate driver on track and setting an average of 230.205mph.

Defending Indy 500 champion Alexander Rossi also advanced, setting the fifth fastest time for Andretti Herta Autosport, just ahead of the sole Team Penske representative to make it through, Will Power.

McLaren Honda Andretti’s Fernando Alonso was the only rookie to make it through to the shootout, with the Spaniard setting a four-lap average of 230.034mph, while Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing and Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport also made it through.

Fernando Alonso was the quickest rookie on Saturday and will compete for pole position on Sunday – Credit: Mike Harding / IndyCar

Just missing out was Dale Coyne Racing’s Ed Jones, who ran early and set a four-lap average of 229.717mph and only failed to advance thanks to Hildebrand’s run, with Charlie Kimball eleventh ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Max Chilton.

Supposed big guns Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, Mikhail Aleshin, Graham Rahal, Josef Newgarden, Juan Pablo Montoya, James Hinchcliffe and Simon Pagenaud all failed to advance and will be competing for positions ten through thirty three on Sunday.

There was one major incident during the session when Sebastien Bourdais crashed at turn two whilst on course to set the best time of anyone, his first two laps were in excess of 231mph, but the Frenchman ended up being taken to the Methodist Hospital for checks, although he was awake and alert just after the crash that saw the Dale Coyne Racing driver roll.

Qualifying resumes on Sunday, with the top nine gunning for pole position late in the day, with positions 10 through 33 to be decided in the afternoon.

Takuma Sato drove superbly to finish second fastest on Saturday – Credit: Walter Kuhn / IndyCar

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Qualifying 1 Result

120Ed CarpenterUSAEd Carpenter Racing230.468mph
226Takuma SatoJAPAndretti Autosport230.382mph
39Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing230.333mph
421JR HildebrandUSAEd Carpenter Racing230.205mph
598Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport230.148mph
612Will PowerAUSTeam Penske230.072mph
729Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren Honda Andretti230.034mph
810Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing230.007mph
927Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport229.924mph
1019Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing229.717mph
1183Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing229.713mph
128Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing229.636mph
1328Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport229.533mph
143Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske229.390mph
157Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports229.217mph
1615Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing228.835mph
172Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske228.696mph
1822Juan Pablo MontoyaCOLTeam Penske228.645mph
195James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports228.557mph
201Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske228.393mph
2124Sage KaramUSADreyer & Reinbold Racing227.943mph
2277Jay HowardGBRSchmidt Peterson Motorsports227.853mph
2314Carlos MunozCOLAJ Foyt Enterprises227.438mph
2416Oriol ServiaESPRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing227.150mph
2550Jack HarveyGBRMichael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport226.894mph
2688Gabby ChavesUSAHarding Racing226.875mph
274Conor DalyUSAAJ Foyt Enterprises225.912mph
2817Sebastian SaavedraCOLJuncos Racing225.815mph
2911Spencer PigotUSAJuncos Racing223.631mph
3044Buddy LazierUSALazier Partners Racing221.427mph
3163Pippa MannGBRDale Coyne Racing219.282mph
3218Sebastien BourdaisFRADale Coyne RacingNo Time
-40Zach VeachUSAAJ Foyt EnterprisesNo Time