INDIANAPOLIS — Ed Carpenter turned pole day into a family celebration.
The stepson of IndyCar founder Tony George became the first member of the Hulman family to earn the biggest prerace honor in the series: the pole for the Indianapolis 500.
Carpenter produced a stunning finish to a day rife with suspense but lacking surprise. His four-lap average of 228.762 mph Saturday around the 21/2-mile oval broke up what was otherwise a Team Penske-Andretti Autosport lock on the front three rows in the nine-car shootout for the pole.
Carpenter beat the big-name guys and became the first owner-driver to earn the pole at Indy since A.J. Foyt in 1975.
"To be a single-car team in this Chevy shootout, I am going to call it fighting with the Penske and Andretti guys," said Carpenter, whose crew carried him off pit road on their shoulders.
The soft-spoken Carpenter grew up around the world-famous Brickyard, dreaming of the moment he could stand in Victory Lane. Perhaps that will happen May 26.
After producing the fastest lap in opening practice May 11, Carpenter gave away his tickets to watch the NBA Eastern Conference semifinal between the hometown Pacers and New York Knicks so he could spend time with his wife before another working Mother's Day. And during Friday's qualifying draw, Carpenter had one of his young children pull out the number.
"I felt like coming in that we had a chance to be on the pole," Carpenter said. "To sit on the pole for this race is really a dream come true, and I hope it is a start to what has already been a great month of May."
Carpenter was followed by three of team owner Michael Andretti's five drivers, rookie Carlos Munoz, son Marco Andretti and E.J. Viso. Munoz's average of 228.342 was just a tick better than Marco's 228.261.
"We knew (Carpenter) was a factor, but those laps were really stout," said Marco Andretti, who congratulated Carpenter on pit road.
Another Indy rookie, AJ Allmendinger, will start fifth, the highest qualifier for Roger Penske's team. Will Power led the regular qualifying session but wound up sixth on the final run.
Katherine Legge lined up a ride with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to drive the No. 81 car today.
NHRA: John Force earned his 141st No. 1 position, and first in 19 races, in Funny Car qualifying at the Kansas Nationals in Topeka. Force, 64, a 15-time series champion, had a run of 4.043 seconds at 313.22 mph. Shawn Langdon (3.767 seconds, 322.50 mph) led Top Fuel and Mike Edwards (6.618, 208.55) topped Pro Stock for today's eliminations.