Ryan Hunter-Reay’s script for the afternoon at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca went out the window the moment his car stalled in pitlane during the first round of stops, dropping him from eighth to last.
Popular wisdom pre-race was that the track offered virtually no realistic overtaking opportunities, and on that basis, the No. 28 Andretti car appeared destined for a long afternoon. Instead, Hunter-Reay carved his way back up from 24th to 10th.
“We had a good start, moved up a position and then at the first stop… I don’t even know what it was yet,” Hunter-Reay told RACER. “But I had the throttle floored and for some reason the car stalled, so we’re not sure if it was a boost issue, a timing issue, or what.
“From there we went to last, and then had to come back through the field. I had a lot of fun today knifing my way though the field from last to 10th and salvaging a top 10. But I hope the fans saw it, because there were some very creative passes! I passed in [Turns] 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. It was good fun.”
On a day that offered little opportunity to stray too far from the conventional strategy, Hunter-Reay and his crew looked elsewhere to help make up the lost ground.
“We didn’t really change strategy,” he said. “We just kind of stuck with what it was, and tried to be really fast on the in and out laps. I had some creative setups for the passes, and those ended up working for me.”