2014 Indy 500 qualifying: Ed Carpenter leads Round 1; Fast-9 field set

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Carpenter paced the opening day of qualifying for the 2014 Indianapolis 500.

A familiar face is the provisional pole-sitter for the Indianapolis 500 following first-round qualifying Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ed Carpenter, last year's pole-winner, clocked a four-lap average of 230.661 mph to secure the top spot heading into Sunday's Fast Nine Shootout, which will set the top nine positions for the May 25 race.

"I think tomorrow we will have to go out first, but we definitely got some more speed I think that we can squeeze out of it," Carpenter said. "We will see what we've got."

Joining Carpenter in Sunday's group of nine are Carlos Muñoz, Helio Castroneves, James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Marco Andretti, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, and J.R. Hildebrand.

Castroneves, a three-time winner in Indianapolis, is seeking his fifth career Indy pole, one behind Rick Mears who holds the all-time record with six.

In his first attempt at qualifying for the Indy 500, Kurt Busch posted the 10th-fastest time in his second run of the afternoon. Immediately afterward, he departed to participate in Saturday night's NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"It's a lot of fun to qualify into the Indianapolis 500 my first outing," Busch said. "I was hoping for a little more, but the air in the morning there is so thick, those cars have a hard time cutting through that air.

"We got bumped out of the Fast Nine, which I thought we might be able to hang on but, hey."

Traditionally strong at Indianapolis, Chip Ganassi Racing lacked speed Saturday. Sitting 15th overall, defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was the highest Ganassi entry. Teammates Ryan Briscoe, Charlie Kimball and Tony Kanaan qualified 17th, 19th and 23rd, respectively. Kanaan won the Indy 500 from the 12th position a year ago.

"We're a mile-and-a-half off right now," Dixon said. "I think fundamentally we are missing something right now. A mile-and-a-half doesn't sound like that much, but it is. The unfortunate part is you work probably six months of the year trying to find the combinations that you want to run, and we think we get the best speed out of it.

With only 33 drivers entered, Sunday's round of qualifying will not feature the traditional bumping associated with the final session of time trials.

Indianapolis 500 Round 1 qualifying results
Position Driver Avg. Speed
1 Ed Carpenter 230.661
2 Carlos Munoz 230.460
3 Helio Castroneves 230.432
4 James Hinchcliffe 230.407
5 Will Power 230.323
6 Marco Andretti 230.134
7 Simon Pagenaud 230.070
8 Josef Newgarden 230.033
9 JR Hildebrand 230.027
10 Kurt Busch 229.960
11 Ryan Hunter-Reay 229.899
12 Jack Hawksworth 229.816
13 Juan Pablo Montoya 229.785
14 Justin Wilson 229.618
15 Scott Dixon 229.283
16 Mikhail Aleshin 229.091
17 Ryan Briscoe 228.825
18 Takuma Sato 228.786
19 Charlie Kimball 228.710
20 Graham Rahal 228.664
21 Sage Karam 228.650
22 Townsend Bell 228.508
23 Tony Kanaan 228.435
24 Sebastien Bourdais 228.388
25 Pippa Mann 228.358
26 Sebastian Saavedra 228.294
27 Jacques Villeneuve 228.171
28 James Davison 228.150
29 Oriol Servia 228.034
30 Carlos Huertas 227.991
31 Alex Tagliani 227.813
32 Martin Plowman 227.043
33 Buddy Lazier 226.543

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