Ed Carpenter is a rare breed in Indycar today being an owner/driver in a series dominated by multicar teams and rich team owners. This weekend, however, he shut out the field and won the pole for the Indianapolis 500.
A testament to what Carpenter had to overcome to win this pole was who he was up against in the Fast Nine. Between five Andretti Autosport entries and three Team Penske entries, he was up against the juggernauts in IndyCar and the odds did not appear to be in his favor. When it was go time, he delivered and beat them all for the pole.
So can Carpenter win the 500? I would say the odds are definitely in his favor. For one thing: the ovals are his strong suit. Of his 32 career top tens, 30 of those have been on ovals. He won at Kentucky in 2011 after finishing second the last 2 years, which included getting beat right at the line by Ryan Briscoe in 2009, driving for a relatively new Fisher Hartman Racing team beating Dario Franchitti: no easy task there. Very similar to what he did this past weekend to win the pole for the Indy 500, David beating Goliath.
He also knows how to win a 500 mile race. At last years season finale at Fontana, Carpenter dominated the race, leading the most laps and passed Dario Franchitti on the last lap to win the race. A 500 mile race in of itself is a challenge to win, and since he has won one already, he's proven he has what it takes. At the Indy 500 last year, he came from the back to the front and was running inside the top 5 towards the end of the race before a late spin took him out of contention.
So, long story short, can he win the race? Yes he can. Will he, we shall have to wait until Sunday to know for sure.