LONG BEACH, Calif. – Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified the No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet second in the Firestone Fast Six for the Grand Prix of Long Beach Indy to lead three Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers in the battle for the pole. Hunter-Reay is the defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion, and the most recent winner on the circuit, capturing the win at Barber Motorsports Park.
Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, the defending winner of the race on the Streets of Long Beach (Calif.), secured the third fastest qualifying time for the 80-lap race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course.
Other Team Chevy drivers posting top-10 qualifying Times Were: James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 Godaddy.Com Andretti Autosport Chevrolet – 7th’; Tony Kanaan, No. 11 Hydroxycut KV Racing Technology SH Racing Chevrolet – 8th and E.J. Viso, Team Venezuela Andretti Autosport HVM Chevrolet – 10th.
In addition to the on-track competition, Chevrolet debuted its all-new 2013 Chevrolet Racing Display in the Lifestyle Expo at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. In addition to a number of Chevrolet vehicles for fans to see, there will be games and other interactive activities for fans of all ages. The display will be at 8:00 a.m. PDT on Sunday.
The highlight of the display activities for the fans will be several Question and Answer sessions with many of the Chevrolet IZOD IndyCar Series drivers. Scheduled to appear are: KV Racing Technology drivers Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro on Sunday at 10:30 a.m., and the “Champ”, Ryan Hunter-Reay from Andretti Autosport, will meet the fans at 10:45 a.m. All times are Pacific Times.
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER QUOTES:
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 2ND: YOU DIDN’T GET THE POLE, BUT THAT RACE CAR SEEMS PRETTY QUICK
“The guys gave me a great car as always. This team has been doing a great job. This DHL/Sundrop Chevy has been just awesome. But that’s just unfortunate. To lose it by a half-tenth hurts more than by four-tenths. It was close, but today doesn’t really count. We’ll get ‘em tomorrow. We’re starting from the front row. I think things are looking up for us.”
A YEAR AGO WHEN THEY WENT INTO TURN ONE WITH DARIO (FRANCHITTI) ON THE POLE, THERE WAS AN INCIDENT. HOW DO YOU AVOID THAT WHEN THEY DROP THE GREEN FLAG?
“You put yourself at risk when you’re on the outside of Turn 1. I learned that in my first year here in 2001. I came down in there and we all went three-wide in there and you just have to be smart when you go down into Turn 1 at Long Beach. It’s a long race. And as we’ve been seeing, I think there will be a lot of yellows.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3RD: ON QUALIFYING: "I just took that one lap and backed off. Tim said "You're barley going to make it," and I thought he meant on fuel but he meant the checkered. Literally, barely missed it. I much rather start third than second. The starts in these races you never know what is going to happen. You are better off on the inside.
"It was good to get to the fast six just because of how close everything is at the moment. We got caught out there on the end there. Still very happy with third, good starting position. Getting ready for some good, quality racing tomorrow."
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 AUTO CLUB TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: "Yeah, we were happy during the first segment we made some adjustments and improved quite a lot. But we still had some issues and in fact the third one we just decided to make a lot of changes and improved even more. It's a shame I felt that I had a better car than Top 6. I'm not complaining but I just want to be able to move forward with momentum and turbo. Being Top 6 is great and we can keep up the speeds. Tomorrow is going to be an exciting race."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 7TH: ON QUALIFYING: “Up and down day, I guess. A little disappointed to be starting seventh in the GoDaddy car. Happy for Ryan (Hunter-Reay) – congrats to him on the front row. You know, to miss the Firestone Fast Six by such a small margin there, it’s a bit heartbreaking. We had a good car, we missed it just that tiny little bit. It’s obviously an improvement over Barber where we were stuck down in 20th, but not where we want to be just yet. So, we’ll put our heads together and try to come up with a strong race car and hopefully we can have a better day tomorrow.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 HYDROXYCUT KV RACING TECHNOLOGY SH RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 8TH: ON QUALIFYING: "We found the right direction on the setup during this morning session and the times showed up in qualifying. I know we have a good car for the race tomorrow and starting towards the front will definitely help us fighting for a top spot, but I still think it will come down to who manages better their Firestone tires. We'll make some more tweaks to the car for the morning warm-up and get ready for the green flag tomorrow."
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT HVM CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 10TH: ON QUALIFYING: “I qualified tenth. The top 10 is not bad after the beginning of the weekend that we had; I think we are recovering pretty decently. Three out of the four the cars in our team are starting in the top 10 which is going to benefit us in a race like Long Beach. Starting in the front part of the grid is definitely a benefit. We are going to try to do our best to climb positions as soon as possible and make a good strategy for the race.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 12TH: ON QUALIFYING: "It was pretty stress-free for us, and I went out and the National Guard Chevy felt like I thought it would right away and we were able to bang some good laps together. That first session was kind of a cluster, so we got a little help, but I was on a lap that was good enough to transfer and had been on a good lap previous to that and got blocked.
And once we were in the second round I put in a lap, felt pretty good, and knew there were a couple more tenths out there, but I broke too late going into Turn One and screwed the lap and that screwed up the second lap. That was frustrating, but we’ve been making some gains here this weekend and the team has been working really well together and it’s nice to be able to catch a break in one of these qualification sessions.
I’m very confident with the car that we’ve got and that we’ll have a good racecar like we did here last year. We’re well set up to be able to run with the big boys at the front, which is what we’ve been saying all year; if we can start closer to the front we’ll stay there because our race pace has been good. Hopefully we get the chance to prove that tomorrow.”
A.J. ALLMENDINGER, NO. 2 PENSKE AUTOMOTIVE CHEVROLET, QUALIFED 14TH: ON QUALIFYING: “Tough day for the No. 2 Penske Automotive Chevrolet. We thought we had the car in a pretty good place going into qualifying but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get out of it what I needed. I know that Will won the race last year from 12th so that gives us some hope that we can move up through the field tomorrow and hopefully be competitive.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 15TH: ON QUALIFYING: "We are still looking for ways to get the balance right, we made some progress but not enough. The No. 7 McAffe was pretty close on the prime but we had a bit too much under steer and we put the options on and it just got worse.
These days you cannot afford to have any hiccups with such a tight field. We did not make the cut for the first qualifying session which was a shame, but it was still better than the previous two races. Hopefully we will have a good race tomorrow and continue to make progress with our qualifying runs."
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 PANTHER DRYER & REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 18TH: ON INCIDENT DURING QUALIFYING: "I came back and I see they took the lap away - they are communicating with race control explaining what happened, I'm sure I'll get my lap back. I don't think there's an argument. There cannot be a penalty. Scott spun and was in the blind spot - I either had to hit him or hit the tires. He caused he yellow, I had nowhere else to go. What I am I supposed to do? I'm sure they're going to give me the lap back.
But I had only gone one lap, I'm just upset off because that was going to be my lap - the only lap the tires had. I think we had a car to make the top six and I didn't have a chance to set a fast lap. There's not much room for a lot of strategy tomorrow - it's a two stop race no matter how you look at it. We have a good car, we're going to have to pass people and get to the front on track. Things are not coming easy for us, but I am very happy with how the team is working and how the car is working - we will show it." UPDATE: IndyCar officials rescinded the penalty after further review.
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 20TH: ON QUALIFYING: “Well, it’s really frustrating because we got caught out with the red flag. You know it is what it is, but I think the car was really good and it’s just unfortunate that we got caught in that. Hopefully we’re going to have a good race tomorrow. I think the car is strong and we should be able to pass some cars and move forward.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 21ST: ON QUALIFYING: "It was a rough qualifying session for the team and the #6 TrueCar, worst we have had so far this season and not a place we deserved to be. We are going to keep working for the right balance and improving so tomorrow we will have a good clean race."
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 24TH: ON QUALIFYING: “The run was a little disappointing, to be honest. We were able to catch a break with some guys crashing out late and losing their laps. So that will move us up on the grid. We went out early on the red Firestones and ran into traffic. We lost some good laps right there.
It’s hard to time those qualifying sessions on a track like this. It happens to everyone at some point. I thought the car was better than the time indicates. It stinks a little because I think we could have jumped up the chart if we could have put a lap together. At the same time, we caught break with other people’s misfortunes.
We made some changes for qualifying and they helped. But we didn’t get aggressive enough with them and that hurt a bit. We were right with our logic on the setup. We just didn’t go after it hard enough. We are getting closer to the front of the field. We’ll improve the car for the race now too.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 26TH: ON QUALIFYING: “Today was tough because when a bunch of cars get backed up and I am the only one penalized, it can be pretty frustrating. I don’t think anyone gained from this decision, but I do know that our car was way better than where we are starting tomorrow.
As a driver, you kind of have to expect these things happen on a 1.9 mile track with 12 cars on at the same time. The only thing left for us to do is take this on the chin and push even harder tomorrow.”