The Latest: Castroneves claims top spot in Indy qualifying
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the first of two qualifying days for the Indianapolis 500 (all times local):
Three-time Indianapolis 500 Helio Castroneves withstood a late afternoon charge from two-time Indy pole winner Ed Carpenter to hold onto the top seed in Sunday’s nine-car pole shootout.
All 33 starting spots on the grid will be determined Sunday.
Castroneves posted a four-lap average of 228.919 mph on the fourth attempt of the day then waited through two rain delays and 43 runs.
Carpenter bumped his way into the 33-car field with an average of 228.692 — second-fastest of the day. His two teammates, Danica Patrick and Simon Pigot, also made the shootout. Pigot was sixth at 228.052. Patrick wound up ninth at 227.610 in attempting to make her final race.
All three of Castroneves’ teammates — Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Josef Newgarden — made the shootout. They finished third, fourth and seventh.
Sebastien Bourdais, fifth, and Scott Dixon, eighth, also will vie for the pole
Two drivers, Pippa Mann and 2016 Indy pole winner James Hinchcliffe, did not qualify for the field. It’s the first time since 2011 any drivers were bumped from the starting grid.
Hinchcliffe is fifth in the points and sat in his car at time expired.
The 33-car starting grid is full for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.
Charlie Kimball became the 33rd driver to qualify with a four-lap average of 225.752 mph. He wound up in the 24th spot.
Two drivers, Oriol Servia and two-time pole winner Ed Carpenter, have not yet qualified.
Carpenter was making his first attempt right after Kimball.
Conor Daly was on the bubble as bumping began for the first time since 2011. Daly already planned to withdraw his time and attempt to requalify. Servia also was preparing to make another qualifying attempt.
Rookie Robert Wickens drove onto Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s historic 2.5-mile oval as qualifications resumed following a 51-minute rain delay.
Wickens had just turned the first of his four qualifying laps when the track was closed because of rain. Eleven drivers, including Wickens, have not yet officially taken the green flag.
Qualifying is scheduled to go until 5:50 p.m.
Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 has been delayed by rain for the second time Saturday.
The yellow flag came out before Wickens of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, could complete his second lap. The Canadian went 226.387 mph on his first lap and will be the first driver on the track when qualifying resumes.
Twenty-four of the 35 cars have made attempts. Eleven have not yet gone.
Danica Patrick put her No. 13 car safely in the Indianapolis 500 field after waiting through a rain delay of 2 hours, 20 minutes.
The first female to lead the race finished with a four-lap average of 227.610 mph, the fifth-fastest of the day and the second fastest after qualifying resumed. She was just behind teammate Simon Pigot, who was fourth overall after 16 qualifying attempts. Ed Carpenter, who owns the team, was scheduled to qualify later.
“The thing about Indy, it’s very unpredictable,” she said. “You have to respect the process of Indy understand that it comes and it goes.”
Not everyone fared as well as Patrick after the track dried out.
James Hinchcliffe, the 2016 Indy pole winner, was the first driver out after the delay and put up the slowest average so far at 224.784 for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
The top 33 drivers qualify for the starting grid Saturday and the field will be set Sunday. The nine fastest drivers will compete for the pole Sunday.
Patrick is retiring after the May 27 race.
Track officials announced that pit lane is open and qualifying is expected to begin at 2:15 p.m. — if the track stays dry.
The sky over the track remained mostly overcast.
Hinchcliffe was next in line when the rain started. He drives a Honda-powered car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Chevrolet drivers have produced the three fastest four-lap averages of the day.
Rain fell on Indianapolis’ 2.5-mile oval, causing a delay in qualifying.
Eleven cars attempted four-lap runs with 10 finishing. Oriol Servia waved off his attempt after going 196.228 mph on his second lap and 194.390 on his third after warming up at 223.177.
Three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves had the fastest average, going 228.919. His teammate with Team Penske, Simon Pagenaud, second-fastest at 228.304. Ed Jones, of Chip Ganassi Racing, had an average of 228.052 and was the only other driver to top 228.
Patrick didn’t make it onto the track before the rain. She is trying to earn a starting spot in the final race of her career.
Just before qualifying began in Indianapolis, series officials announced the IndyCars will be going significantly faster.
Under new rules that will take effect in 2021 and are expected to last through 2026, each car will use a 2.4.liter, twin-turbo charged V-6 engine. Current rules require cars to use a 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6.
The change will give drivers a boost of about 100 horsepower. When drivers were given a boost of about 50 horsepower for this weekend’s qualifying, the top speeds increased by roughly 5 mph.
Testing on the more powerful engines will begin in 2020.
“It’s been a long process the last year,” IndyCar president of competition and operations Jay Frye said. “The drivers over the last couple of years have talked about horsepower gains, what we need — this will certainly get it to where we need it to be, the plus-900 (horsepower) range.”
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves posted the fastest lap in Saturday morning’s final pre-qualifying practice for the Indianapolis 500.
The Brazilian went around the 2.5-mile oval in 229.505 mph.
Australian Will Power was second fastest at 229.015. Power and Castroneves are teammates with Team Penske.
American JR Hildebrand was third at 227.761.
Only 11 of the 35 drivers made it onto the track following a rain delay of about 20 minutes.
The top 33 drivers will qualify for the starting grid Saturday. All 33 spots will be determined Sunday, including the pole.
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