IndyCar Series 2014
Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz, last year’s Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, posted the second-fastest speed Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in first-round qualifying for next week’s 98th running of the Indianapolis 500, as five Honda-powered drivers from three different teams advanced to Sunday’s “Fast Nine” final qualifying shootout for the pole.
In this year’s new qualifying format, the nine fastest drivers from today’s first-round qualifying will contend for the pole on Sunday. Drivers who qualified 10th through 30th today are assured of making the “field of 33”, but will qualify again tomorrow to determine their starting positions.
The final three starting positions, 31 through 33, also will be set in Sunday’s final qualifying runs.
With the 2014 rules also allowing an unlimited number of qualifying attempts, action at the 2.5- mile oval was frantic throughout most of the day, interrupted only by a brief mid-afternoon rain shower. In addition to Munoz, top nine qualifiers today included James Hinchcliffe, rebounding from a head injury sustained in last weekend’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis to record the fourth-fastest qualifying run today; and his Andretti Autosport teammate, Marco Andretti, who was sixth.
At one point, last week’s Indianapolis Grand Prix race winner, Simon Pagenaud, appeared headed for a top-three provisional qualifying result, but improving track conditions in the afternoon session saw the Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports driver pushed back to seventh, and time in the session expired before he could attempt another run.
Meanwhile, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden successfully “bumped” his way back into the top-nine with a strong qualifying run in the final five minutes.
Eleven other Honda-powered drivers, led by NASCAR star Kurt Busch in 10th and 2012 IndyCar champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay in 11th, successfully qualified today, guaranteeing them a spot in the 33-car starting field. But all will re-qualify tomorrow to determine their starting positions for next weekend’s “500”.
Final-round qualifying on Sunday will complete the 33-car starting field and determine the coveted pole, with ABC again covering the action starting at 1 p.m. EDT.
|1||Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing)|
|2||Carlos Munoz (Andretti Autosport)|
|3||Helio Castroneves (Team Penske)|
|4||James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Autosport)|
|5||Will Power (Team Penske)|
|6||Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport)|
|7||Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)|
|8||Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing)|
|9||JR Hildebrand (Ed Carpenter Racing)|
|10||Kurt Busch-R (Andretti Autosport)|
|11||Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)|
|12||Jack Hawksworth (Bryan Herta Autosport)|
|14||Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|16||Mikhail Aleshin (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)|
|18||Takuma Sato (A.J. Foyt Racing)|
|20||Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)|
|25||Pippa Mann (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|27||Jacques Villeneuve (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)|
|29||Oriol Servia (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)|
|30||Carlos Huertas (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|31||Alex Tagliani (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing)|
|32||Martin Plowman (A.J. Foyt Enterprises)|