ANDRETTI, HUNTER-REAY LEAD FOUR-DRIVER ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT TEAM TO FRONT HALF OF KENTUCKY FIELD IN QUALIFYING
SPARTA, Ky. (Oct. 1, 2011) - Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay posted solid qualifying runs Saturday in leading the four-driver Andretti Autosport contingent in Kentucky Indy 300 qualifying on the fast 1.5-mile oval.
All four Andretti Autosport drivers qualified in the top half of the 29-driver field Saturday evening in cool and windy conditions.
Andretti, driving the No. 26 Team Venom Energy Drink machine, secured the sixth starting position for Sunday's 200-lap feature with a two-lap average speed of 217.807 mph. The Iowa Speedway winner looked strong in afternoon practice runs in very cool conditions and jumped to third early in time trials. With air temperatures in the mid-50s and wind gusts in the 20 mph range, track conditions were tricky during qualifying.
Hunter-Reay, the New Hampshire champion, will start eighth Sunday with a speed of 217.632 mph in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car. In afternoon practice with drafting off other cars, Hunter-Reay recorded the second fastest speed and looked comfortable in traffic.
Long Beach winner Mike Conway pulled his No. 27 Team @FollowAndretti entry into the 12th starting spot for Sunday at a 217.110 mph reading with Danica Patrick taking the No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com car to 14th at 216.768 mph.
The Kentucky Indy 300, the 16th round of the 17-race IZOD IndyCar Series season, will be televised live Sunday at 2 p.m. EDT on VERSUS TV.
In Firestone Indy Lights qualifying, Andretti Autosport driver Stefan Wilson recorded a new track record in capturing his first career pole position. Wilson will start from the pole, with the event also televised live Sunday at noon EDT on VERSUS TV.
MARCO ANDRETTI, #26 TEAM VENOM ENERGY DRINK CAR
Starts the race in P6
"We knew we had a quick car when we tested here - it's one thing to do it in a test, but it's another thing to go out and do it again race weekend. Luckily the Venom car had some speed today so we're not starting too far back. I think we'll have a pretty solid race car and we'll be able to go to work tomorrow."
MIKE CONWAY, #27 TEAM @FOLLOWANDRETTI CAR
Will start the race in 12th position
"The car was the same as practice. We were hoping for a little more speed. The cold conditions make it hard to get the tires up to temperature. We haven't run in weather this cold in quite some time. We hope to improve the car for the race and move up some positions."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, #28 TEAM DHL/ CIRCLE K/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA CAR
Starts the race from 8th position
"The track is pretty bumpy. That is the hard part of the race. During the middle of a tire stint, it is hard to keep the tires under you with the bumps. I think we have some pretty good race cars. Marco [Andretti] came here last week and ran well, so we are pretty optimistic for the race. I passed a little bit of info onto Marco for his qualifying run. We are running similar setups and I'm happy to see him do well today. We have been concentrating on the race setup for this weekend and I'm pleased with the direction we have gone so far with the DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop car. Sunday's race will be exciting with 29 Indy cars and the tight field. I think it is going to be a heck of a show. You have to be on your toes the whole race, but it should be a lot of fun. That is what IndyCar racing is all about."
DANICA PATRICK, #7 TEAM GoDaddy.com CAR
Will start the race from P14
"I think the GoDaddy.com car was better in the second practice session. We added more downforce for qualifying. Sometimes trimming the car makes it fly more on the track. At the end of the day, you can do anything from anywhere on the grid so we'll see where we go tomorrow."