IRL: Sears Point: Rahal Letterman qualifying report

RYAN HUNTER-REAY SCORES SEASON-BEST QUALIFYING RESULT FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING AT SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. - It is in the nature of an athlete to be disappointed any time that he or she feels that they didn't achieve a result they believe they ...

RYAN HUNTER-REAY SCORES SEASON-BEST QUALIFYING RESULT FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING AT SONOMA

SONOMA, Calif. - It is in the nature of an athlete to be disappointed any time that he or she feels that they didn't achieve a result they believe they should have - even if the result turns out to be one of the athlete's best.

That is how a sunny Saturday in Sonoma went for Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone), who posted the best road-course qualifying result of the year for Rahal Letterman Racing in earning the seventh starting spot for tomorrow's IndyCar Series Motorola Indy 300 at Infineon Raceway. But despite the fact that he hung up a strong result, Hunter-Reay was more upset about what could have been than he was about how well things had gone for the rookie driver.

The Floridian carded a time of 1:17.8865 (106.309 mph) on his single qualifying lap around the 2.26-mile road course, a time that was .21 seconds shy of landing him a spot in the Firestone Fast Six, the IndyCar Series qualifying method that would have given Hunter-Reay a second shot at his first series pole.

"It's a shame because two-tenths of a second would have been enough to get us in the Firestone Fast Six," Hunter-Reay said. "As we have done everywhere, we have been getting quicker and quicker throughout the weekend and the guys gave me a good car today. It's a long race tomorrow and we are in a pretty good spot. Passing opportunities will be hard to come by here, but we'll be ready to take advantage any time we get a chance."

Things didn't go as well for veteran Scott Sharp (#8 Patron Dallara/Honda/Firestone), who spun in Turn Seven on his qualifying outing and would settle for a 17th-place starting spot. He and the Rahal Letterman Racing team rebounded from a tough Friday that saw them miss the entire afternoon session, running laps Saturday morning that were competitive with the times posted in afternoon qualifying. But the heat of the day changed the track surface drastically between morning practice and afternoon qualifying, making the hilly course a treacherous rollercoaster.

"I was trying to hustle the car through there, trying to get us back where we should be on the charts," Sharp said. "I got on the throttle and it snapped around on me. It's disappointing but the Rahal Letterman Racing team has given me great pit stops all year long and we'll try and use those tomorrow to work our way up and stay in the points chase."

-credit: rlr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Ryan Hunter-Reay