Carpenter claims second consecutive Indy pole

Sun May 18, 2014 6:21pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Ed Carpenter, the last driver on the track, took pole for the Indianapolis 500 for a second consecutive year on Sunday.

The Indiana native posted a four-lap average of 231.067 mph to bump James Hinchcliffe from the top spot for the May 25 race.

Canadian Hinchcliffe and Australian Will Power will join Carpenter on the front row.

Carpenter became the 11th driver to earn back-to-back poles for the 500-mile race. His average speed was the fastest since 2003.

"It's awesome to do this two years in a row," Carpenter told reporters. "I was surprised last year and didn't expect to do it this year with such deep competition.

"It’s exciting, but after going through this last year and not winning the race I’ve been so much more determined."

He led the 2013 race for 37 laps but finished 10th.

"Now it's all about the race and we want to close the deal," Carpenter said.

Hinchcliffe, who eight days ago suffered a concussion in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and was cleared to drive on Thursday, averaged 230.839 mph.   Continued...

May 18, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter celebrates after winning the pole of the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports