RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING AND RYAN HUNTER-REAY TO START 12TH IN KANSAS KANSAS CITY (April 26, 2008) - As has been the modus operandi for the Rahal Letterman Racing squad this year, the ...
RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING AND RYAN HUNTER-REAY TO START 12TH IN KANSAS
KANSAS CITY (April 26, 2008) - As has been the modus operandi for the Rahal Letterman Racing squad this year, the #17 team saved its best for last on a cloudy Kansas Saturday, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) running his fastest lap of the day on his last orbit of qualifying to take the 12th starting spot for tomorrow's IndyCar Series RoadRunner Turbo 300.
The #17 Ethanol car ran a quartet of laps over 211 mph during the new four-lap qualifying format, with the fourth and final trip around the 1.5-mile oval stopping the clocks at 25.8142 seconds (211.976 mph). Hunter-Reay's four-lap average of 211.681 mph was second on the grid after the first 11 cars had qualified, but cloud cover and cooler temperatures aided the cause for the latter half of the qualifying order, as the car dropped to 12th by the final gun.
"We made the car better each session as we have done all year, and had some good laps when we needed them," said Hunter-Reay. "We have raced well this year and moved up through the field, so we're hoping to be in the thick of it when the green flag drops tomorrow. Qualifying doesn't mean that much on a superspeedway like this, so we'll just look to fight with the fast guys tomorrow. It will be a long day and we need to think about the points and how it helps us in the championship."
The Kansas event is one of the IndyCar Series' two-day shows, meaning that the team ran its first practices of the weekend during the morning, with qualifying taking place later in the afternoon. Unseasonably cool temperatures delayed the start of practice for an hour this morning, but the team got to work quickly once the track opened, running in and around the top 10 in the 90-minute morning session.
The delay meant that the afternoon session - which would have been more open due to the 27-car field being split in half - was more like what drivers will fact tomorrow as 26 of the 27 cars (Mario Moraes crashed in the morning outing) were on track at once. Sunday's race will be the first full-field oval race since the season opener and Hunter-Reay expects things to get busy quickly tomorrow.
"I think the guys that were quick at Motegi will string out quickly and I expect that we'll be able to keep pace with them," surmised Hunter-Reay. "But with all the Champ Car guys back from Long Beach the track will get real busy, real quick tomorrow - which is going to play a big role in the outcome of the race."