19 May 2013
2013 Indy 500: Carpenter takes pole in Indianapolis
"Right now I don't have too many words to describe how happy I am, just a rookie to be in the front row, just a dream," he said. "I was like crossing my fingers that it rained that we can stay in the front row!
"I was happy with the car in the first qualifying, but we did a couple of changes and it worked out. We were really fast," he added. "Front row is perfect for the race. I have my teammate just on the side of me, I have great people around me with a lot of experience. It's a 500-mile race, and I'm in the middle of the field."
Despite his rookie status in IndyCar, Munoz has raced here last year in the Firestone Indy Lights series in which he is still a regular competitor - he'll race in the Freedom 100 race this week before the Indy 500.
"Last year my first race, I did second place," he said. "It's going to be tough doing 600 miles in one weekend, but I think we have perfect cars in both Indy Lights and IndyCar, so I'm going to be hopefully in the front row in both categories."
With Carpenter on one side, Munoz has his team mate Marco Andretti on the other who was just basking on what the squad had achieved as a whole this year.
"Definitely pleased," he said. "Extremely proud of my team. Five out of the top nine is just an incredible achievement. That has to be some kind of a record. I don't think there's been five cars on one team let alone in the top nine. Chevrolet, what a statement. I'm definitely proud of them."
All nine of the cars that had made it through to the Fast 9 shootout - and onto the front three rows of the grid - were Chevrolet-powered, leaving Alex Tagliani as the highest Honda runner down in 11th place on the provisional grid after Pole Day.
"I'm very pleased with Honda, all the work they've done with us and the other teams to try to bring the fight to Chevy," insisted Tagliani, who was on pole here in 2011. "I'm very pleased with where we are now. Hopefully we have even a better race car."
Less happy were the Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti. Both former winners of the race, this year they face starting from row sixth in 16th and 17th positions respectively - not exactly where they wanted to be at this stage of the Indianapolis build-up. The third Ganassi driver Charlie Kimball is a row further back and will start from 19th.
"The car was sliding around a bit. It wasn't too bad to drive, it's just that we scrubbed a lot of speed - the first two laps were pretty decent, and then we played it a little bit safe," explained Dixon, who was the first man out on the track for qualifying on Saturday after the blind draw set the order.
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