Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda had a strong qualifying session for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, the opening race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season.

Hunter Reay who won the season finale last year in Sonoma starts Sunday’s race from fifth place having set a fastest time of 01:01.0784s.

Speaking following the action he said:

We had the fastest lap of qualifying and unfortunately it was in the wrong session. It was in Q1, a 1:00:15, super fast. That was on new (Firestone) Reds. In the (Firestone) Fast Six, we had used reds. I think we just beat up our reds too much in the prior sessions – there was no grip in the car in the Fast Six.  We are struggling with some balance stuff right now, but hopefully we can sort that out for tomorrow, but it’s going to be tough. It seems like it is either going to be loose or understeer, we can’t find the middle. But we’re starting from fifth – and we can do something from there.”

Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda suffered from understeer during qualifying but will start the race from sixth place having set a time of 01:01.0784s.

Speaking following the action he said:

We have been struggling for two days now with some issues on the front of the car. I think (the qualifying result) was really the best we could hope for. It is unfortunate that we were aiming for sixth. At the end of the day, it was good to be able to advance to the Firestone Fast Six and at least give us a good starting spot for tomorrow, and we all know in this race how many things can happen. We will make sure we resolve our issues overnight and have a good car for tomorrow. I think we know what the issue is, but we don’t know quite how to fix it yet. We have a lot of very smart people here at Andretti Autosport, so the 27 NAPA guys will work and figure it out.”

Zach Veach in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda starts the race from 14th place having set a fastest time of 01:00.9061s and speaking following the day’s action he said:

First off, I’m just happy being here. Thankful for all the fans coming out, but I think we have something to look at. The data didn’t come out just right as far as speed for us. We think that we have a lot better car than we are showing right now, but we have an issue holding us back. We just have to figure out what that is overnight. It is a long race, this is the longest street course we have of the entire year. A lot of laps and a lot of things can happen tomorrow and at the end of the day I am just happy to be here.”

Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete Honda starts the race from 17th place having failed to set a time in the session due to a fuel pick up problem.

Speaking following the action he said:

It was unfortunate today, the U.S. Concrete car is fast, we just didn’t get a chance. It ruined the show for the fans, too. There should have never been a red (flag). I was sitting on pit lane, I wasn’t blocking anyone but that’s the way the cards fell today. I will be driving and seeing red tomorrow. That’s the plan. So far we have had the pace and possibly had the pace to do a lap.”


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