A Promising Race Ends In Disaster For Andretti Autosport In Long Beach
Andretti Autosport started the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in a strong fashion on Sunday with three cars in the top ten going into the race it looked very promising however, sadly it was not to be.
Ryan Hunter Reay had a great battle with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe, with six laps to go while in second place, Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda slowed as he suffered an electrical issue which halted his charge.
Speaking following the race, Hunter Reay stated:
We had a good showing for DHL and Honda today, but I don’t know what happened. It was something electrical. I tried cycling the car a few times and it didn’t fire. Then, once we had sat (in the runoff) for a few moments, we tried flipping a few switches and it fired back up again but it was too late to rejoin the race. It felt like the same issue we had at Pocono (2016). It really hurts when it’s that close to the end and I was closing on (Hinchcliffe); we were going to have a good showdown there at the end. That’s why this sport can be so rewarding and so cruel, there’s nothing you can do. Frustrating for sure but today it was out of our hands.
I thought we had a really good shot at winning. The pace of the car was really good all day and we were able to recover from a little bit of a tricky pit stop sequence on the first stop, so it’s unfortunate because the NAPA AUTO PARTS car was awesome… we’ll just have to fight back at Barber. Honda has done an amazing job so it’s unfortunate, but congrats to Honda and Hinch on the win.
On lap prior to Hunter Reay’s retirement, Takuma Sato was forced to retire from the race with an engine failure. Speaking following the race, he commented by saying:
It was a long and tough day. We went a different way with strategy and dedicated to a three-stop race. It just didn’t flow as we wished. In the end, we lost power and had to park. Certainly, after practice and qualifying and this morning I felt really strong in the car and it’s a shame we couldn’t finish… but we will work to come back strong.
Marco Andretti also suffered failure with an electrical issue and speaking following the race he commented by saying:
We had a decent start to the day, and the three-stop strategy would have been interesting. The UFD car had good pace and the boys were good in the pits on the first stop, then we had a sensor issue and our day was done. We need to pull back together and play catch up.