INDIANAPOLIS — Ed Carpenter turned Pole Day into a family celebration.
The stepson of IndyCar founder Tony George became the first member of the Hulman family to win the biggest pre-race event in the series — the Indianapolis 500 pole.
Carpenter produced a stunning finish to a day that was rife with suspense but lacked surprise. His four-lap average of 228.762 miles per hour was quick enough to break up what appeared to be a Team Penske-Andretti Autosport lock on the front three rows in the nine-car shootout for the pole.
Somehow, Carpenter, who owns his team, beat out the big-name guys.
‘‘To be a single-car team in this Chevy shootout, I am going to call it fighting with the Penske and Andretti guys,’’ said Carpenter, whose pit crew carried him off pit road on their shoulders after an agonizing wait to see if his time would hold up.
Carpenter grew up around the 2.5-mile Brickyard, dreaming of the moment he could stand in Victory Lane.
‘‘I felt like coming in that we had a chance to be on the pole,’’ Carpenter said. ‘‘To sit on the pole for this race is really a dream come true, and I hope it is a start to what has already been a great month of May.”
Carpenter was followed by three of Michael Andretti’s five drivers — rookie Carlos Munoz of Colombia, Marco Andretti, and Venezuelan E.J. Viso took the next three spots. Munoz’s average of 228.342 was just a tick better than Marco Andretti’s 228.261.
Another Indy rookie, A.J. Allmendinger, will start fifth, the highest qualifier for Roger Penske’s team.
Will Power went into the shootout as the favorite after going 228.844 but wound starting sixth, the outside of Row 2 after slowing to 227.246 m.p.h. on the final run of the day.
Each of the nine drivers in the shootout were powered by the strong Chevrolet engines. That left the Honda teams, including all four drivers for Chip Ganassi’s heavyweight team — Australian Ryan Briscoe, New Zealand’s Scott Dixon, Scotland’s Dario Franchitti, and Charlie Kimball — out of the front three rows. Franchitti, like Castroneves, is trying to become the fourth member of the four-time winners club and will start from the middle of the sixth row, 17th, after going 226.069.
Also out of pole contention was points leader Takuma Sato. He posted a four-lap average of 225.892 and will start 18th, the outside of Row 6.
Eight drivers qualified but were later bumped out of the top 24 starting spots. James Jakes and Briscoe were the only ones to make it back in.
The final nine starting spots will be filled during Sunday’s qualifications — a day Britain’s Katherine Legge is expected to complete her first laps since being hired by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to drive the No. 81 car. The late addition gives race organizers 34 driver-car combinations, meaning one driver won’t start on May 26.