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The Hammer nails qualifying, pries Kentucky IndyCar pole from Power

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Ed Carpenter and Vision Racing pulled off the seemingly impossible today, wresting the top spot in qualifying from the clutches of Penske Racing's Will Power at the Kentucky Indy 300.

Carpenter and Vision, both of whom are working in conjunction with Panther Racing in a limited schedule this season, are no strangers to Kentucky Speedway. Last year, Carpenter nearly won the IZOD IndyCar Series event at this track, losing by a fraction of a second to Penske's Ryan Briscoe at the line.

This is Carpenter's first pole position and only the third pole position this year won by anyone other than Team Penske. Ganassi's Dario Franchitti won the pole at the season opener in Brazil, and Justin Wilson of Dreyer and Reinbold Racing qualified quickest at Toronto.

Will Power of Penske Racing, winner of eight pole positions this season, was relegated to the outside of row 1. Carpenter's Panther Racing teammate Dan Wheldon continued his hot streak by qualifying third alongside of Scott Dixon.

Conquest Racing had a strong session, with Bertrand Baguette surprising everyone with a sixth-fastest run and Tomas Scheckter in 10th. Conversely, Andretti Autosport suffered through a disappointing day, with the top qualifier on that team being Marco Andretti in 15th. Andretti's Danica Patrick qualified 17th, while Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay were 26th and 27th respectively out of 27 cars.

The Kentucky Indy 300 is the 200th race for the IZOD IndyCar Series, which held its first event in 1996 at Walt Disney World Speedway. Carpenter is the stepson of IRL founder Tony George, who owns Vision Racing.