Ed Carpenter celebrates with his crew after he qualified with the fastest time during qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Saturday, May 20, 2017 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Carpenter takes top spot in crash-marred Indy 500 qualifying

May 20, 2017 - 7:46 pm

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two-time pole winner Ed Carpenter had the fastest car in Indianapolis 500 qualifying Saturday with a four-lap average of 230.468 mph.

He finished just ahead of Takuma Sato and 2008 race winner Scott Dixon. Sato was second at 230.382. Dixon was third at 230.333.

All times will be erased for Sunday's nine-car pole shootout.

Qualifying was marred by a frightening crash that sent Sebastien Bourdais to the hospital complaining of pain in his right leg. The Frenchman hit the SAFER barrier in the second turn head-on. He had topped 231 mph on his two previous laps.

Drivers from Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport took six of the top nine spots.

Two-time Formula One champ Fernando Alonso was seventh at 230.034.

Will Power was the only Team Penske driver to make the shootout. Roger Penske's drivers have won all five poles this season with Power taking three and Helio Castroneves taking two.

Defending 500 champ Alexander Rossi was the fifth-fastest time at 230.148.

It was an odd day on the 2 1/2-mile oval that began with a long rain delay and a change in the qualifying procedure and ended with Carpenter's teammate, JR Hildebrand, cracking finishing fourth at 231.205 to bump rookie Ed Jones out of the shootout.

But the most disturbing scene was Bourdais slamming into the wall and his car flipping over in a burst of fire before skidding to a stop in the backstretch.

Safety workers got to the car in about 10 seconds, but needed about 10 minutes to get the Dale Coyne Racing driver out. Bourdais was then placed on a backboard and taken to the infield medical center before going to Indiana University Methodist Hospital for further observation.

No other update was immediately available.

The hard hit also forced track workers to repair the damaged wall.

And those with the early spots in qualifying line were clearly hurt by the severe weather that moved into the area minutes before qualifying was set to begin. When the track dried and drivers got back on the oval at about 4 p.m., the early drivers found a hot surface with little grip.

Four-time Indy pole winner Castroneves, two-time race winner Juan Pablo Montoya and defending series champ Simon Pagenaud all missed out on the shootout.

Meanwhile, Carpenter and Hildebrand — two of the last six drivers on the track — put up two of the four fastest runs of the day.


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