Carpenter takes early lead in Indy 500 qualifying

Michael Marot
Associated Press
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James Hinchcliffe, of Canada, drives through the first turn during practice on the first day of qualifications for Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ed Carpenter has put himself in position to earn a second straight Indianapolis 500 pole by posting the fastest speed in early qualifying.

His four-lap average of 230.114 mph was the fastest of the 33 drivers who qualified for the May 25 race. There are still roughly 4½ more hours of qualifying left Saturday.

Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay is second at 230.011. Rookie Jack Hawksworth of England is third at 229.732. Canada's James Hinchcliffe is fourth at 229.672 despite missing the first four days of practice this week after being diagnosed with a concussion.

The top 30 qualifiers are assured of a starting spot in the May 25 race, though none of the 33 starting positions will be set until Sunday. The nine fastest cars advance to Sunday's pole shootout.