RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TO START IN TOP HALF OF THE FIELD FOR SUNDAY'S INDYCAR EVENT IN MILWAUKEE MILWAUKEE - Ryan Hunter-Reay ( ...
RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TO START IN TOP HALF OF THE FIELD FOR SUNDAY'S INDYCAR EVENT IN MILWAUKEE
MILWAUKEE - Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) used a clutch final lap to slip past Danica Patrick and Hideki Mutoh in Saturday's IndyCar Series qualifying at the Milwaukee Mile, putting himself on the outside of the sixth row for Sunday's ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225.
Following its customary approach in 2008, the Rahal Letterman Racing squad continued to move up the speed charts throughout the day, finishing higher in each of today's three sessions. The march up the ladder was steady all day long as the last of Hunter-Reay's four qualifying laps was his fastest of the day, stopping the clocks with a time of 22.0920 seconds (165.399 mph)
The final orbit of the 1.032-mile oval boosted his four-lap average to 164.066 mph and marked the fifth time in six starts this year that the Indy 500 Chase Rookie of the Year has started in the top 12. In fact, the only time this season that he did not grid in the first dozen was at Indianapolis last week, where he powered through the field to finish sixth.
"We're starting in the top half of the field and that's where we need to be in order to work our way to the front," Hunter-Reay reported. "It's going to be very busy here tomorrow and the more you can do today to keep yourself out of harm's way - the better off you are going to be tomorrow. We would always like to be faster and the wind may have thrown us off a little, but we're in good shape for the race."
Hunter-Reay will be running at Milwaukee for the first time in the Indy Cars, although he has three previous starts here in the Champ Cars, with one of those being a record-setting performance in 2004 when he led all 250 laps to score his second career victory.
The four-lap qualifying procedure was plagued by ever-changing weather conditions that saw sunshine for most of the session, although a random set of clouds would occasionally pop through and cool the track. Couple the fluctuating track temps with the high winds that bedeviled drivers on the backstretch and qualifying became a handful for those that were caught unaware.
"We made some changes based on what we had done in the early practice sessions," Hunter-Reay told. "But the wind may have affected that data and threw a couple of our changes off. We were loose and that's no fun here. But we're pleased and are ready for tomorrow."