RYAN HUNTER-REAY SCORES BEST-EVER INDY-CAR ROAD-COURSE QUALIFYING SPOT FOR RLR DETROIT - After a close call in Sonoma where Rahal Letterman Racing and Ryan Hunter-Reay ( ...
RYAN HUNTER-REAY SCORES BEST-EVER INDY-CAR ROAD-COURSE QUALIFYING SPOT FOR RLR
DETROIT - After a close call in Sonoma where Rahal Letterman Racing and Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) narrowly missed a shot at the Firestone Fast Six IndyCar qualifying procedure, the team rebounded in a major way on a sunny Saturday at Detroit's Belle Isle.
Hunter-Reay earned a spot in the Firestone Fast Six on his single qualifying lap around the 2.125-mile road circuit, then ripped a spot away from Marco Andretti to earn the fifth position on the grid for tomorrow's Detroit Belle Isle. Hunter-Reay's best time of 1:13.3434 (101.604 mph) gave him not only his best-ever IndyCar Series starting position, but also earned Rahal Letterman Racing its best-ever Indy Car road-course qualifying result.
"It was another good day for the Ethanol team. I've been saying this every day but we keep getting faster every session and we did it again today when it counted," Hunter-Reay said. "We got in the Firestone Fast Six and gained a spot so we are very happy. We still have work to do to get into the front row, but we can race from fifth. The Ethanol guys deserve to be running up front like this and hopefully we do even better tomorrow."
The Firestone Fast Six is a shootout between the top-six cars after single-car qualifying, where each of the fastest six drivers get a new set of Firestone Firehawks and 10 minutes to turn their best time. Sixth on the grid after the single-car runs, Hunter-Reay turned two laps that were good enough to move him up to fifth on the grid.
"The Firestone tires have been very compliant with the bumps and I didn't have any worries - matter of fact it was exactly the opposite," he said. "I've been surprised at how good the grip has been on such a bumpy track like this with so much concrete. They've helped to give me a lot of confidence in the Ethanol car."
Things didn't go as well for veteran Scott Sharp (#8 Patron Dallara/Honda/Firestone), who lost some laps in the morning practice session due to a brake problem. His single qualifying lap of 1:16.2611 (97.717 mph) planted him in the 17th position on the grid for Sunday's penultimate event of the IndyCar Series season.
"We lost some track time this morning with a problem and that set us back a little bit but I really thought that we had run a better lap than that," Sharp said. "It felt pretty good and I was surprised when the data came up on the screen with the time. We'll just try to keep out of trouble tomorrow and work our way to a good finish."