2015 Pocono winner Ryan Hunter-Reay says he doesn’t expect Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at the Pennsylvania track to be a repeat of this year’s other 500-mile race at Indianapolis.
High temperatures at the Indy 500 created the “worst-case scenario of track conditions,” according to winner Will Power. For Pocono – where the current forecast for Sunday calls for temperatures in the low 70s – teams will be working with an extended front wing, which was tested last week at Pocono by drivers from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, AJ Foyt Racing and Andretti Autosport.
“It’s supposed to help. We’ll have to see,” Hunter-Reay said of the revised front wing. “Even with the few cars that tested at Pocono last week, we don’t really have an understanding yet of what these cars are going to do in a group, because nobody ran together. The first session will really tell us a lot.
“The data says it should help shift the balance forward. Hopefully we can make that happen and also make for a better race.”
Teams will only have one 60-minute practice on Saturday before qualifying, followed by a late-afternoon session. Hunter-Reay admitted that it will require “a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.”
“We’ve added in some new options on the aero side of it to really help the front of the car in traffic, to keep the front grip,” he said. “What the drivers really need is that front grip later in the corner. We had an issue with that at the Indy 500.
“Even with a good car, you could only get so close. It was very difficult to complete passes until you had a restart or something like that. Hopefully this will be a good change for us.”
With finishes of 19th, 16th and seventh in his past three races, Hunter-Reay knows he’s in need of a turnaround as the season heads into the homestretch.
“I think we have a great chance [to win],” said the Andretti driver, who sits fifth in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings. “The Pocono race is different than Indy. It is its own beast. In Turn 3 with banking, it’s a true handling corner. Feels almost like a Milwaukee type of corner, but going twice the speed. You have to set your car up for that. You have to set your car up for Turn 1, which is a massively banked, tight radius corner. It comes more down to a handling aspect to balance, trying to get the setup right.
“I think we’re going to see a different type of race [than the Indy 500]. I don’t think it’s just going to come down to top-end speed, although that will help at Pocono. I think it’s going to be more of a handling race.”