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Carpenter Wheels To First IndyCar Pole At Kentucky

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SPARTA, Sept. 3, 2010: Ed Carpenter continued his IZOD IndyCar Series Kentucky Speedway success by earning his first career series pole award with a two-lap 217.933-mph (48.8958 seconds) average.

The Panther Racing driver sliced his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka machine through 19 mph winds gusting to 26 mph and will make his fourth top-10 Kentucky IICS start in tomorrow’s 300-mile race.

Carpenter placed 12th in last season’s series championship by delivering one top-five and six top-10 finishes with Vision Racing and will make his third start of the 2010 campaign in the "Kentucky Indy 300."

The Indianapolis-based wheelman earned his series career-best second-place finish in the Bluegrass State last season when he crossed the finish line .0162 of a second behind Ryan Briscoe in the closest series race the track’s 11-year history.

“It’s been an interesting day, the conditions changed a lot from this morning. Looking at all the down force levels that people came out to qualifying with, we weren’t sure what to expect. I was happy where we were. We had a good, quick car this morning. I saw my teammate Dan (Wheldon) go out a couple of cars before me and put up a pretty big number, and, at that point, I knew we had a shot,” Carpenter said.

The six-year series veteran’s previous best starts were fourth at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season and Michigan International Speedway in 2006. The 10th different Kentucky Speedway IICS pole winner will share the front row with championship leader Will Power, who generated a 217.829-mph (48.9192 seconds) two-lap average in his Team Penske racecar.

Power, coming off a 16th-pace Chicagoland finish that shrank his championship lead by 36 points last week, will start in the top-three for the 10th consecutive race holding a 23-point championship lead over Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti, the two-time and defending series champion who qualified on the inside of Row 6 today with a 216.533-mph (49.2120 seconds) average.

“That was a pretty straight forward run. Actually, it was harder than normal for this track because it was a little windy out there with pretty low grip. It’s good for us to start on the front row, but I don’t think the qualifying is as important, unless you get the pole position on the mile-and-a-halves because you can pass.

“Here, it’s tougher to pass than most tracks because it’s two lanes and a bit bumpy. We need a good result on an oval this year. I think our best result on a mile-and-a-half this year is twelfth, I don’t even know. We definitely need to a least finish ahead of Dario. We have to have a strong finish to keep that points lead,” Power said.