HUNTER-REAY BATTLES AT THE FRONT TO FINISH FIFTH SUNDAY IN THE KENTUCKY INDY 300
Andretti Fights for the Lead Before Being Knocked Out of the Race
SPARTA, Ky. (Oct. 2, 2011) - Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti raced for the lead Sunday in the Kentucky Indy 300, but both Andretti Autosport drivers didn't finish where they would have liked.
Hunter-Reay took his No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda machine to a fifth place in the 200-lap feature on the fast 1.5-mile oval south of Cincinnati. The Florida racer battled hard in the later stages of the event, running only a few feet from the lead. The tight racing made for some spectacular side-by-side competition, and Ryan was squeezed to the apron of the track several times before having to settle for a top-five finish. The fifth place moves Hunter-Reay up in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings with one race remaining. Ryan is 19 points out of fifth place.
Andretti, coming off a podium finish two weeks ago in Japan, looked primed for another victory Sunday in his No. 26 Team Venom Energy Drink entry. The third generation driver battled inches apart from Dario Franchitti in a mid-race dice for the lead. Unfortunately, Andretti's race ended much too soon where he exited his pit box on lap 140 and was struck by Alex Lloyd who turned into Andretti's car in an attempt to pit. The contact knocked Andretti out of the race and ended a solid chance for his second 2011 victory. Marco was awarded with 27th place which hurt his chances for a possible top-five placing in the final point standings.
Danica Patrick, who won the pole at Kentucky in 2005, drove competitively in the top-ten from her 14th starting position. Patrick ran as high as seventh in the No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com car before taking the checkered flag in tenth. Danica's finish vaulted her back into tenth in the season standings. Andretti Autosport now has three drivers in the top-ten in points.
Mike Conway, the Long Beach winner, suffered through a tough day in the No. 27 Team @FollowAndretti machine after qualifying 12th Saturday. The personable Brit finished 18th Sunday.
Young Stefan Wilson scored his second Firestone Indy Lights win of the 2011 season by wheeling his Andretti Autosport car from the pole (with a track record) and leading the most laps Sunday afternoon. The win for Wilson, the younger brother of IZOD IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson, moves him to second in the series standings with one race remaining at Las Vegas in two weeks.
The final race of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series, the INDYCAR World Championships, is set for Sunday, Oct. 16, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway beginning at 12:45 p.m. PDT and will be televised live on ABC-TV.
MARCO ANDRETTI, #26 TEAM VENOM ENERGY DRINK CAR
Recorded a 27th place finish after a pitlane incident
"Really unfortunate end today for the 26 car. I bogged getting out of the pit box; that allowed [Graham] Rahal to get up aside of me and what happened happened. They were coming in and I was going out - our suspension was damaged. I feel really bad for the Venom boys. The car was good and they were doing a great job."
MIKE CONWAY, #27 TEAM @FOLLOWANDRETTI CAR
Finished the race in 18th
"It was a tough day for us. Obviously we wanted to stay where we were at the start. That was difficult at the beginning of runs. Then the car settled down for us. But we went backwards and I tried to stay out of trouble. It made for a really long day. We just couldn't get the car to my liking."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, #28 TEAM DHL/ CIRCLE K/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA CAR
Finished the race in fifth place
"It wasn't a bad day. It was a little frustrating because you couldn't complete the pass when you got up to someone. It was crazy racing in the end. It was a good top-five for the DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop team. We really didn't have the setup to win today. We had a run in the last four or five laps that could have moved us to the front, but I had nowhere to go. I was boxed in and couldn't get past anyone. In the last corner, I kept my foot in it. I knew I was going to get a huge push and James [Hinchcliffe] was able to go around me on the outside. We definitely wanted more for today. I feel badly for Marco [Andretti]. He had a good car and he had an incident in the pits. That is sad. This place is more of a handling track than the next race in Las Vegas. Las Vegas will be more about engineering the car for aerodynamics."
DANICA PATRICK, #7 TEAM GoDaddy.com CAR
Ended the race in 10th place
"Congrats to Ed [Carpenter] and Sarah Fisher Racing. Ed has run really well here in the past and this win is well deserved." "It was a good day for us. We had a little more downforce than most. I didn't feel like I had a lot of speed. It seemed like I would get a good run for a few laps and then just lose my speed. We will figure it out so we can have a good race in Vegas. I want to finish the year out on a good note for my crew and for Go Daddy."