Hunter-Reay tops Mid-Ohio IndyCar qualifying

Hunter-Reay tops Mid-Ohio IndyCar qualifying

IndyCar

Hunter-Reay tops Mid-Ohio IndyCar qualifying

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Ryan Hunter-Reay’s hopes of remaining in the IZOD IndyCar Series title hunt received a boost after the Andretti Autosport driver triumphed in qualifying at Mid-Ohio.

Hunter-Reay set his 1m05.3519s with just over a minute still on the clock, but it was good enough to hold up against the last-ditch efforts from his rivals.

“Last year we clawed back from bigger deficits,” he said of his points disadvantage, which sees him in third place, 68 points down to championship leader Helio Castroneves going into Sunday’s race. “Being late in the season, we need to go like we did last year at the end of the season, which is go for broke. We’re not interested in banking results right now and going for second or third in the championship because nobody really remembers who finishes second a couple of years from now.

“We’re going for it. Hopefully this is the first step in it. But we have a long way to go, including tomorrow’s fight for the win. It’s going to be a long, hard race going up against the Ganassi, Penske boys and my teammates as well.”

The reigning IndyCar champion and team owner Michael Andretti gambled on making it through the Q1 and Q2 segments on one set of Firestone’s red-walled alternate tires, which left them a fresh set in Q3 when others were on more worn rubber.

Penske’s Will Power came closest, missing out by 0.18 second, with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti claiming the second row.

Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti secured row three, meaning that all three Ganassi cars will start inside the top six — a particularly impressive effort on the part of Kimball’s crew, who had to repair their car after a heavy crash in morning practice.

Current points leader Castroneves joined James Hinchcliffe in providing the early upsets, with both facing the prospect of starting toward the back end of the field after being knocked out of the first group.

“We’re going to try something different because what we were planning on doing tomorrow strategy wise won’t work with as far back as we will have to start,” admitted Castroneves. “We have not given up hope yet — tomorrow will be a long race and I know we’ll be able to make it back up.” 

There was also drama for Bryan Herta Autosport rookie Luca Filippi, who was stripped of his two fastest laps after going off and causing a red flag during the first qualifying phase. Had his times been allowed to stand, the Italian would have been fourth fastest in his group.

Pos  Driver               Team/Engine      Time        Gap 1.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti/Chevy   1m05.3519s 2.  Will Power           Penske/Chevy     1m05.5359s  +0.1840s 3.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi/Honda    1m05.7051s  +0.3532s 4.  Marco Andretti       Andretti/Chevy   1m05.8566s  +0.5047s 5.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi/Honda    1m06.4415s  +1.0896s 6.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi/Honda    1m06.5854s  +1.2335s 7.  Justin Wilson        Coyne/Honda      1m05.9405s  Round 2 8.  Simon Pagenaud       Schmidt/Honda    1m05.9412s  Round 2 9.  Simona de Silvestro  KV/Chevy         1m05.9621s  Round 210.  James Jakes          Rahal/Honda      1m06.1778s  Round 211.  Tristan Vautier      Schmidt/Honda    1m06.3379s  Round 212.  EJ Viso              Andretti/Chevy   1m06.4071s  Round 213.  James Hinchcliffe    Andretti/Chevy   1m06.2198s  Group 114.  Sebastien Bourdais   Dragon/Chevy     1m06.1856s  Group 215.  Helio Castroneves    Penske/Chevy     1m06.2280s  Group 116.  Takuma Sato          Foyt/Honda       1m06.1989s  Group 217.  James Davison        Coyne/Honda      1m06.2839s  Group 118.  Oriol Servia         Panther/Chevy    1m06.2109s  Group 219.  Josef Newgarden      Fisher/Honda     1m06.5334s  Group 120.  Tony Kanaan          KV/Chevy         1m06.2537s  Group 221.  Sebastian Saavedra   Dragon/Chevy     1m07.0895s  Group 122.  Graham Rahal         Rahal/Honda      1m06.4002s  Group 223.  Ed Carpenter         Carpenter/Chevy  1m07.4107s  Group 124.  Luca Filippi         Herta/Honda      1m06.8757s  Group 2All drivers use Dallara DW12 chassis

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