IRL: Chicagoland: Rahal Letterman Racing qualifying report

RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TAKES SIXTH ROW FOR INDYCAR FINALE JOLIET, IL. - Rahal Letterman Racing's IndyCar Series duo of Ryan Hunter-Reay ( ...

RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TAKES SIXTH ROW FOR INDYCAR FINALE

JOLIET, IL. - Rahal Letterman Racing's IndyCar Series duo of Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) and Scott Sharp (#8 Patron Dallara/Honda/Firestone), will comprise the sixth row for tomorrow's IndyCar season finale at Chicagoland Speedway after claiming the 11th and 12th positions in Saturday afternoon qualifying.

Sharp led the way with a time of 25.7098 seconds (212.840 mph) to claim the 11th spot while Ryan Hunter-Reay snared the 12th position after a best lap of 25.7566 seconds (212.450 mph) around the 1.5-mile Chicagoland oval. Hunter-Reay ran his best lap on the second of his two orbits of the Joliet layout, carding a time that was a bit shy of his expectations.

"The time just wasn't in the car today," Hunter-Reay lamented. "We'll have to work on the car and make it faster for tomorrow. I know we have a car that can run in the top half of the field, we'll just keep it up there and see what we can get."

The Rahal Letterman Racing team rolled the dice a bit on the Patron machine, pulling Sharp out of the qualifying ladder early and sending him out at the tail end of the 22-car qualifying line. He was slated to go out second in the queue, but with the heat of the day still lingering, the team took the chance that the setting sun and approaching cloud cover would cool the track enough to give Sharp a slight advantage. The move was not without risk as the rules state that anyone may pull out of line for any reason and go to the back, but those that do must relinquish one of their two qualifying laps to do so. The track did cool slightly for Sharp's qualifying run, helping him to the 11th place on the grid.

""We haven't been as quick as we thought we'd be coming into this weekend because we have done pretty well on the big tracks this year," said Sharp. "We qualified about where we've been all day but I think we'll be OK. You don't have to start up front to win this race so we'll start where we are and get after it tomorrow."

RLR Chief Operating Officer Scott Roembke agreed with Sharp's assessment and is optimistic that the team can make big strides on Sunday.

"We were a little disappointed with our pace considering how well we had been running on the big tracks all year," Roembke said. "But we ran pretty well in big packs during the morning practice sessions, so I feel confident that we can get strong finishes for both cars tomorrow."

-credit: rlr

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