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Indy 500: Carpenter celebrates two-in-a-row

As delighted as he is to secure his second Indy 500 pole in a row, Ed Carpenter has his sights firmly set on something far bigger: winning the race.
On Sunday afternoon, Ed Carpenter became only the 11th driver in history to secure back-to-back pole positions for the Indianapolis 500. But whereas last year's pole position was celebrated by Carpenter's eponymous, this year the repeat success had a somewhat more low-key reception from the team.

That's because they know all too well that starting from pole is no indicator of race success. Last year, Carpenter ended up finishing in tenth position at the end of the 500-mile, 200-lap race and this year he's determined to do much better. That means that the hard work is far from over: in fact it's only just begun.

"It's awesome to win another pole," said Carpenter. "Winning the pole last year, I think we have a better idea for me and Heather and the whole team how to be prepared for it, how to manage the week, how to manage our time. Hopefully we'll be better prepared next Sunday.

"It's exciting, but after going through this last year and not winning the race I've been so much more determined. I think the whole team has to really figure out what we need to do next Sunday and that remains true.

"I'm looking forward to practice [on Monday]," he continued. "We have to have one more day of practice tomorrow getting ready for the race. I feel good about where our cars are in race trim [but] you can always use one more solid day of practice just to tune on things, get a little better, make sure both myself and [team mate] JR [Hildebrand] are happy.

Carpenter insisted that he had no idea going into the weekend's qualifying session whether he would be able to repeat last year's pole-winning form.

"I get extremely paranoid the week before practice here. I feel like every year coming in I have this giant fear we're going to be really slow and really struggle," he said.

"I thought it was harder [this year}, he added. "It was just a different position because when I made my run last year, we didn't really have anything to lose. This year, being the last guy to go out, I think there was a little more pressure to not mess it up.

"I felt like going out that we had the speed to do that from where we were from yesterday to today with the different conditions. I felt like as long as we didn't mess it up, we were going to be able to win the pole," he explained. "That's a different kind of pressure. But it was a more stressful run for me, for sure.

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