Simon Pagenaud answered the bell and checked an elusive box off his racing resume by winning the pole for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

The Frenchman ended yesterday's preliminary qualifying day in second place, behind the Ed Carpenter Racing entry of Spencer Pigot and ahead of Team Penske teammate and defending 500 champion Will Power.

When it was his turn to qualify, Pagenaud turned a picture-perfect run around the 2.5-mile superspeedway in his No. 22 Menards Team Penske averaging 229.992 mph to knock defending pole-winner Ed Carpenter off the top spot. Three laps over 230 mph bolstered the 4-lap run.

While he only had to wait for two more cars - Power and Pigot - the 12-time IndyCar race winner described the tension as nothing he ever felt before.

"Heart rate is really high and pressure is there," he said. "A stressful moment for everybody. The atmosphere is just amazing around this place. Waiting (for the final qualifier) was the most stressful moment of my career. We gave it everything we had."

The run is the latest in a turnaround by Pagenaud having ended a 23-race winless drought in last weekend's IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis. The 2017 NTT IndyCar Series champion feels that the stars have aligned to make a run at the BorgWarner Trophy.

"I think we have all the momentum we need. We have the best car; obviously, we showed it today. We have the best engine right now. At the end of the day, there is a lot that can happen. It's a long race, 500 miles. We just need to execute."

Carpenter logged the fastest single lap at 230.372 mph but was forced to settle for second. He led an ECR and Chevrolet lockout of positions 2-4 as his two drivers Spencer Pigot and Ed followed him. Pigot and Jones' efforts netted them their career best IndyCar starts of third and fourth, respectively.

Colton Herta replicated his performance from yesterday and slotted in fifth, the fastest rookie in the field and the quickest Honda-powered car.

Reigning 500 winner Will Power struggled with a difficult handling car and ended up sixth in his No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet.

Four-time Indy car champion Sebastien Bourdais ended his second run in the Fast Nine in seventh while Team Penske's Josef Newgarden ended up eighth. Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport's lone bullet for the pole, completed the top nine with a very uneventful run.


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