WEST ALLIS, Wisc – Marco Andretti won the Verizon P1 Award for Saturday’s Milwaukee IndyFest, race nine of the IZOD IndyCar season. It is the third career pole for the third generation driver, and his second at the historic Milwaukee Mile.
The driver of the No. 25 RC Cola Andretti Autosport Chevrolet led a group of six additional Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers to secure the top-seven fastest in the final qualifying order.
Posting the fourth and fifth fastest times, respectively, were Andretti Autosport Chevrolet drivers defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay followed by E.J. Viso.
"Congratulations to Marco Andretti for winning the pole in qualifying today at The Milwaukee Mile!” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IZOD IndyCar Series. “We are so proud of Team Chevy for securing the top seven positions at this storied venue in West Allis, Wisconsin.
The unique challenges of this short oval with flat corners requires a key setup and a dose of bravery from the drivers to get the most out of a lap. We look forward to the race tomorrow and know a win powered by the Chevrolet IndyCar twin turbo V6 will have to be earned over the course of 250 grueling laps. "
The sixth and seventh fastest times were run by Team Chevy drivers Sebastian Saavedra and Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan.
Driver qualifying quotes:
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER: ON HIS LAP: “The first two sessions were good, but they are the only two sessions that don’t count. But if we could end-up on top, I’d be pleased.”
THIS IS SO GREAT. DID YOU LIKE THE LAP? “I think that’s about as good as I could have done. So even if we get bumped, I’m pleased with what we did out there. I think it should be strong; I don’t know. I’ve got to look at the list now. It’s killing me. I want to know who can beat me.”
YOU ARE QUALIFYING SO WELL AND YOU ARE RUNNING WELL. ARE YOU FEELING ANY PRESSURE TO GET A WIN? “Oh, I want to get that monkey off my back because I think they’re going to steamroll from there. We’ve been knocking on the door and that’s all we’ve got to do. Hopefully it will come through. I’m pleased with my race car, too; so tomorrow might be a good shot.”
ARE YOU GUYS ABLE TO PICK-UP WHERE RYAN LEFT OFF LAST YEAR, AS FAR AS RACE PREPARATION AND SET-UP? “Yeah, we are definitely a team. It’s not like I’m dumping on his set-up everywhere we go. But, I think we’ve been working good as a team and there’s no magic.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SECOND: WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE TO HAVING A BAD MORNING AND BEING ABLE TO COME BACK IN THE AFTERNOON AND HAVE A GOOD QUALIFYING RUN? “I think it’s a great team. We just have to go out there and do our job as professionals. The whole crew went through the car and made sure everything was right.
We try to do a q-sim (qualifying simulation) right before the end of practice and it did not go well. My head wasn’t in the right place. It was a lot on me to sort of just buck up and get the job done. I haven’t had the best record in qualifying at this joint over the years. I can honestly say I got to go out there today and run my first flat out lap around The Milwaukee Mile which after the day that we had I’m pleased with for sure.”
DID YOU GUYS TAKE A LOT OF DOWNFORCE OUT? “I mean we are definitely a bit trim, but everybody is. We will see the guys that did more if their tires hold on. The guys that maybe kept a bit more on maybe they can have a better average we will see. It’s going to be tight, but to be qualifying up there around where my teammates are right now I’m happy about that.”
WOULD YOU CALL THAT A SLAP, SMACK? WHAT KIND OF IMPACT WAS THAT? “It was a slap. It was solid. Let’s put it this way when we came back and looked at it there was less damage than I thought there was going to be when I actually did it. Again, the guys got everything fixed and it’s a huge testament to this team. We are one-two-three right now. We are half way through it. These guys have done a great job.”
DO YOU EXPECT THIS RACE TO BE MORE FUN THAN LAST SATURDAY AT TEXAS? “I think any race would be more fun than last Saturday. The thing about Texas is it was just so hard to hang onto like the whole time. We all want to race cars we all want to have to drive them more and we get all that, but that was a lot of work. That was a long night. This place is always fun to race. I think it will be better.”
YOU GET THAT AT THE SHORT OVALS WHICH IS WHY THESE TWO WEEKS HAVE GOT TO BE A LOT OF FUN FOR YOU: “Yeah absolutely. We are looking forward to the race. Iowa is always fun. This place always races well. We will see. If you have a good car at a short-track it’s a fun day. If you miss it and you have a bad car man it’s a long afternoon.”
DO YOU THINK THE TIRES WILL FALL OFF ROUGHLY THE WAY THEY DID LAST YEAR? “Yeah, it’s the same compound that we brought to this track last year and hopefully that means we will see a similar sort of rate of attrition or sorry degradation and we can at least predict a little bit. Last year being the first year with the car we are all learning. Everybody has got a bit more a handle on it, it should be about the same.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED THIRD HOW WAS IT? “It wasn’t bad. I was kind of worried because Helio (Castroneves) was so loose that my car might be loose. It was a little loose. Not a bad run. I think we have got a good race car.”
AFTER LAST SATURDAY NIGHT I’M SURE YOU PROBABLY FEEL GOOD ABOUT GETTING BACK TO A TRACK WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO BE RACY AND HAVE SOME FUN: “Texas believe me we are all driving. That was great. Last week whoever drove the best last week was going to win. You had to drive that thing. It’s pretty cool got to drive on ovals like that.
We haven’t had that for a long time. I mean similar thing around here. Tires go off and you really want a good car. We will see tomorrow. Hopefully the rain stays away and we can have a nice day.”
LAST YEAR ENDED THE ANDRETTI WAY THIS WEEKEND HAS STARTED THE ANDRETTI WAY. ARE THEY THE GUYS TO BEAT? “Yeah they seem to be the guys to beat every weekend. Once again here it’s the same case. Man, it’s a long race we know those guys are going to be bloody strong and tough to beat. We just have to keep chipping away and see what we get.”
ON HIS LAP: “We’ve had a good Verizon car all day. I thought we might have enough for pole today but I made a little mistake on the last lap and we just missed it. Starting third is a good position for us tomorrow. I think the Verizon Chevy will be pretty good in the race. We’re not sure what the weather will be – we hope the rain stays away, especially for the fans – but it should be a good race.”
RYAN HUNTER REAY, NO. 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED FOURTH: HOW WAS YOUR RUN? “We just got a little bit carried too away trying to free up the car; you know, that’s where the lap time is here. We had to do it. We just missed the pole last year by a small amount. So, we had to go for it today. But it was better to be conservative, I think. We missed the pole by ust a little bit, I think today.
It can be a pretty painful one to take, but the car was loose and I had to keep it off the wall. We had a great car, and we just got a little carried away with trying to help the car turn - that’s what beats a lap time here. We missed the pole by just a little bit last year, so we felt we needed to go get it today. We just over-stepped it today. It’s easy to do here at Milwaukee, but we’ll have a good No. 1 DHL Chevrolet for tomorrow, I promise you that.”
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK ON A TRACK DO WHAT YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE DOING? “Yeah, it feels good. It’s always great to be in Milwaukee. The racing is always intense here. It’s killer. We love coming here and it’s going to be a good show tomorrow. Hopefully the rain stays away.”
EJ VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED FIFTH: ON HIS LAP: “Starting the run I needed to be a little bit conservative. I didn’t know what was coming next. I had a good save out of corner two so I’m happy. I think we have a pretty good car. We showed it this morning and we keep showing it. I think once again we are in a strong position for this race. “Probably the first lap I didn’t get the maximum out of the car. I was a little bit cautious…
I had a moment in Turn 1 on my out lap. Anyways, I think we have a pretty strong car and I’m really looking forward to this race. I believe we have a pretty good setup that we’ve been working on and developing. Congratulations to my teammate Marco (Andretti) on his pole position.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 6 TRUE CAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SIXTH: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING OUT THERE: “It was exciting. I think the True Car guys gave me a good car. I went out there. I heard that Simona (de Silvestro) struggled on getting up to speed so I knew it was going to be a very aggressive approach for this qualifying. I think there is going to be a lot of passing tomorrow.
I needed to qualify up front. I really wanted to be more aggressive than usual and at this point it paid off. Lots of cars behind us still. I feel we gave it all. I am very happy with putting the #6 TrueCar Dragon Racing car up front. It's defiantly a great feeling for all of the guys and a huge boost of motivation. It is very important to qualify up front here in Milwaukee due to the lack in passing opportunities. We really went aggressive on our first qualifying lap and it paid off. I am really looking forward to tomorrow's race."
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 HYDROXYCUT KV RACING TECHNOLOGY – SH RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SEVENTH: “With the qualifying trim, so I chose the full lever of downforce for qualifying. I was flat all the way around, so I couldn’t go any quicker than that. But, I’m okay. I think that if we start in the top 12, I’ll be more than happy.”
WHAT KIND OF RACE DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE? THIS WILL BE THE THIRD OVAL: “This race is going to be different than any other one, I can tell you that. In the other races we have in the ovals, so far; it’s going to take a while for people to pass each other. We need to see how the cars play out. It’s going to be a hard race, for sure.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET - QUALIFIED 14TH: ON HIS LAP: "I am just frustrated because we played it safe because we didn't have time to simulate and trim the car for qualifying. We went back to what we did in the first run today, which wasn't really set up for qualifying, but at least we knew where the balance was.
We knew it was going to be super important to start from the front because it is so hard to pass here. It's going to be a long day tomorrow, the conditions are going to be different and with the cooler temperatures I hope it makes it more of a race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PPG AUTOMOTIVE FINISHES TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 18TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “Wow, that was a tough qualifying – one of the toughest of my career. The PPG Team Penske Chevrolet has been good all day but I think we got a little greedy there.
We took a gamble on the downforce, going really low thinking that that the track would be better and it just wasn’t. The car got sideways a couple of times and I’m just glad the car came in on all four wheels. We have a little of work to do tomorrow in the race but we’ll be ready and hopefully fight for our first win in Milwaukee.”
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 19TH: THIS EVERY-OTHER-RACE THING, IS THAT HARD TO DO THAT WAY? “No, it was the plan all along.”
IS IT DIFFICULT FROM A DRIVER’S POINT OF VIEW? “Obviously, hopefully once we can get some continuity going, that’s going to help things a lot. But, it’s good. It’s great having the chance to come here. Our test sessions are on the race track getting ready for qualifying and stuff and we’re learning each other.
It’s one street course and now one oval together. So, yeah, obviously all off-season preparation together and getting into the swing of things it would help, but these are the cards that area dealt and it’s better than sitting on my butt doing nothing.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL? “I feel good. My reflexes are still there. I was steering left in Turn 4 that lap, so the reflexes are still there.”
WHEN DO YOU GO BACK TO FRANCE? “Tomorrow night.”
ON THE POSSIBILITY OF RAIN: “If we get rained out tomorrow, the plan is to race the car on Sunday. It would be disappointing, so hopefully we get the race in tomorrow.”
ARE THE LOGISTICS TOUGH? “Yeah, they are; a little bit. It’s all right. Travel is pretty easy these days. Hopefully the French are on strike by the time tomorrow rolls around. Maybe I’ll be here Sunday because my flight will get cancelled (laughs).”
YOU DON’T MIND GOING BACK AND FORTH? “I love it. We’re having a great time.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER CONFLICTS COMING UP? “Yeah, I’m in France next week. I’m not doing Iowa. And Pocono is the same weekend as Lime Rock, so there’s a conflict there. I’m doing the whole American Le Mans Series and then the plan is to try to do as many races here as we can for the rest of the year. Hopefully it works out.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 21ST: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “The Fuzzy’s Vodka car just hasn’t been as good as we would like it. We had a little problem in the morning practice and we lost some valuable track time. But we have been chasing the proper setup all day now.
Last year, we didn’t qualifying well but the car worked pretty well in the race. The track here is always a little tricky here and the race is a tough one. We are going an extra 25 laps this time, so I’m hoping we can repeat our run of last year when we fought up to the top-five before finishing eighth.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 24TH: ON HER QUALIFYING: “We struggled a bit in qualifying. This morning was awesome; the car was really hooked up. Then when we pretty much went out with the same settings and it was really loose.
We struggled with over-steer and stuff like that the whole time in the second session. We adjusted to that for qualifying and now we have a little bit too much under-steer. So the changes we made, they worked, but I don’t think we’re quite there. I think we have to go in between and hopefully during the race it’s going to come to us a little more”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SECOND - THIS IS A BEST-START AT MILWAUKEE; TELL US ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN: “For where we were on the No. 27 car in practice, we were well-pleased with this. If you told us three hours ago we would be on the front row, we would have been laughing at you back in our truck because we did not have a great practice session.
Well, first practice, I tried to move the wall in Turn 2. It didn’t work. Failed experiment. And then the second practice, we were chasing an ill-handling car. And the frustrating thing was when we made changes it didn’t really respond well. We didn’t end that happy. It really didn’t go that well and we were kind of scratching our heads a bit. The team did a great job going over the whole car and I just sort of took a nap and re-booted; cleared my head a bit and got out there and ran my first-ever flat-out qualifying lap around Milwaukee.
So I was pretty pleased with it and if you’re going to lose the pole, at least it’s to a teammate and four of the top five are our cars. That’s awesome. It’s just sucks that I’ve been second three times now. Like always a bridesmaid, never a bride. I just really want to get that pole. But I haven’t told Marco yet that I’d actually rather start on the outside. I think it’s better from the start, so he can have it.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN HERE? “That would be huge. I grew-up street racing and road racing. I’d like to think that my time in Lights taught me an awful low about oval racing and we’ve been pretty successful at it. In 2011 I matched my best finish of the season on an oval twice and last year I matched my best finish of the year on an oval as well, here at Milwaukee. Now that we’ve won a race, it would be nice to also match that season-best finish on an oval. And to do it here would be awesome. I love this place. It would be cool to be another Canadian to take a win here. The Maple leaf has got good heritage at this track.
“Certainly the history of this joint isn’t lost on anybody. This is the oldest race track in the country and it’s a race that we all look forward to being part of and it’s one that everybody loves to win because it’s so hard. It’s so different from the big banked tracks that we go to and it would be awesome to add your name to a list like that.”
MARCO ANDRETTI JOINS... TELL US ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN TODAY... “We actually rolled off pretty good. We knew he was going to be the one to beat. And I knew I was going to have to go flat in (Turns) 1 and 2 both laps, and I was able to pull it off. It was tough to find a balance end-to-end because of the win, and the car was kind of doing different things at both ends for me. But, yeah, the car so far is right where we need it to be. And also, in race trim, I’m pretty sure too.
IN REGARDS TO WHAT THE SECRET OF ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT RUNNING SO WELL IS...
HINCHCLIFFE: “Pixie Dust, we were cleaning out the attic at the shop and found this little bag. We sprinkle it on all the cars.”
ANDRETTI: “It’s true. Honestly, I think it’s not working harder, I think it’s just knowing where to work. For me we have been knocking on the door on the ovals and stuff. We have just been a little bit short especially in the street courses. I’m still getting beat by this guy (points to Hinchcliffe) even though I have a couple of thirds. I think consistency wise we are where we need to be. I want to be a bit better though.
I want to be not just competing for top six I want to be going for poles and stuff like that. I’m talking about the bigger picture obviously. There is no magic man it’s just kind of doing everything right. Everything is gelling; the four of us are working good together that is a key as well.”
IN REGARDS TO WHAT HE ATTRIBUTES TO THE FOUR WORKING WELL TOGETHER:
ANDRETTI: “Really I think I’ve got to credit it more to comradery within the four of us. I also have to credit Ryan (Hunter-Reay) for upping my game and really just making me… actually just having the luxury to go up against his data and really look at where I was lacking. Come back this year not as weak as I was last year.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN YOUR DAD’S RACE ON FATHER’S DAY?
ANDRETTI: “Yeah, I mean it would be huge. I told him hopefully this is only half of his Father’s day gift. I think we have the car to do it. There is just a long race ahead of us. I think we are up to the task. I think we have four great shots. I also have to credit Andretti Autosport as a whole. Four out of the top-five is pretty awesome.”