Two Day Qualifying Format Begins at 11 A.M. ET Saturday
(SPEEDWAY, Ind.) May 14, 2015 – Indianapolis 500 Qualifications Preview
* Qualifications for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 begin tomorrow. CFH Racing will be attempting to qualify three cars: the No. 6 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet of JR Hildebrand, the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Award Winning Vodka Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter and the No. 21 CENTURY 21 car of Josef Newgarden.
* Carpenter will seek to make history in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 by winning the pole position for the third consecutive year. Ten previous back-to-back Indianapolis 500 pole winners failed to win a third-straight pole. The 34-year-old Carpenter has 11 previous starts in the Indianapolis 500 with a best finish of 5th in 2008.
* Newgarden returned to the track today after a practice accident yesterday in Turn 1 that ended with his car becoming airborne and landing upside down. The crews from all CFH cars pitched in to help prepare Newgarden’s backup car. The secondary No. 21 CENTURY 21 car was ready for today’s practice session at noon. Newgarden has competed in three other Indianapolis 500s with a best start of 7th in 2012, his first appearance.
* Hildebrand has joined CFH Racing for two events: last weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and next weekend’s 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500. When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened for practice on Monday, May 11, it was Hildebrand’s first time in the new Chevrolet speedway aero kit package. Despite not being on an oval since last year’s Indianapolis 500, he quickly adapted and set the 5th fastest lap of the day. Hildebrand nearly won the 2011 Indianapolis 500 in his rookie year, finishing in second. He has four total starts in the 500-mile race, including last year as Carpenter’s teammate.
* CFH Racing is the only multi-car team with an all-American driver line up, prompting the team’s nickname of “Team America.” Hildebrand is from Sausalito, Calif., now residing in Boulder, Colo.; Ed Carpenter hails from Indianapolis, IN., where he still lives; Newgarden is a Hendersonville, Tenn. native, also residing in Indianapolis.
* A drama-filled qualifying format for the Indianapolis 500 returns for the 99th Indianapolis 500. A provisional 33-car field will be determined through traditional four-lap attempts during Saturday qualifying with the top nine cars advancing to a Fast Nine Shootout on Sunday with all of those competitors guaranteed to start no worse than ninth in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Positions 10-33, including a session featuring bumping from the last row, will also be determined through additional qualifying runs on Sunday.
* All three CFH drivers participated in the Fast Nine Shootout during qualifications for last year’s Indianapolis 500. Carpenter was the eventual pole winner, Newgarden qualified 8th and Hildebrand started 9th.
* Indianapolis 500 qualifications will be broadcast on ABC, tomorrow, Saturday, May 16 from 4-6 P.M. ET. The ABC television broadcast will continue on Sunday, May 17 from 1-3 P.M. ET.
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 6 PREFERRED FREEZER SERVICES CHEVROLET: “It was kind of a tough day. The conditions of the track were okay for the first hour of practice and then the track temperature went way up which was when we rolled out. We couldn’t even put a couple of laps together let alone four. Everybody was basically having that same problem. We didn’t see anybody do a four lap run for hours. We came back and put some more downforce on the car then went back out. We started to dial it in towards the end of the day. We’ve at least got a feel for the car which is important going into tomorrow. I think it’ll be tough, you hate to put it this way but I think it’ll just be luck of the draw; whoever ends up going out when the weather conditions are good and the track temp is low. It could be a little overcast for ten minutes while you’re making your run and it could end up making a huge difference with how sensitive these cars are. I think that if the conditions are nice, if the track temp stays cool, then I think we could see the type of elevated speeds that people were talking about, 233 or 234. I hope for the sake of the fans and everything that the cars are good and we can go out there and put up some big speeds. We’ll just have to see how it shakes out tomorrow.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S AWARD WINNING VODKA CHEVROLET: “With today being the first sunny day with warmer track temperatures, it really threw things for a loop and slowed things down. Everyone was running with much more down force and we’re not running anywhere close to last year’s down force. The way today went, I’ll be thrilled if we make it into the fast nine, we’re on the outside looking in now. Last year we we’re pretty solid so I think we can get in, but we got to play our cards right and find a little bit overnight. The thing we’ve got to figure out is how to make the fourth lap still be good. It was definitely a tricky day, I think everyone was struggling at times and its really hard to tell who’s good and who’s not.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 21 CENTURY 21 CHEVROLET: “The guys did an amazing job, they prepared another car really quickly and got us ready to go. We’ve been out here today just getting up to speed and we are relatively back in the game. Qualifying will be tricky because its slippery when its hot. Looking at the heat, I think whoever draws the first spot is going to be the luckiest guy. Its only going to get worse as the temperature comes up so you want to draw early if anything. I like the fast nine and obviously you want to get into the fast nine on Saturday and go for the shootout for the pole on Sunday. We got a lot of good data today, as did my teammates, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”