Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda was happy with how his qualifying for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season finale Grand Prix of Sonoma panned out.
Hunter Reay will start the race from pole position having set a fastest time of 01:17.6277s and speaking following the session he said:
It was a shootout out there right to the last minute with trying to figure out which tires to go with, but the Firestone Reds were just awesome in the Fast Six. This 28 DHL Honda team did just such a good job putting a great car under me. It’s nice to finally get that pole at Sonoma because we’ve been knocking on the door for it for years so definitely a good team effort.”
When it comes to helping his team mate Alexander Rossi win the title, Hunter Reay said:
“I’m certainly doing my part as I just took away a point from (Scott Dixon) so we are doing everything we can do. It’s a big group effort from all four Andretti Autosport cars. We just put our heads together and made a fast race car today. And, yes, we would be in title contention today if we didn’t have five DNFs but all in all though a pretty positive season. We’ve been in contention everywhere we go so hats off to these guys putting a great car under me and I was able to put a lap together when it counted.”
Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete Bryan Herta Autosport Honda starts the race from fourth place on the grid following a fastest time of 01:17.7999s and speaking following the session he said:
“I think this U.S. Concrete team did a really good job with staying with the track. We learned a really tough lesson on [Firestone] Reds yesterday, we were 16th. We were able to get within a tenth-and-a-half, but that’s not good enough. When [Scott] Dixon sent it off [during the Firestone Fast Six], I thought that was my shot at pole because he would’ve lost his laps, but that wasn’t in the cards. Luckily Ryan stole the point from [Dixon].”
Championship contender Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda starts the race from sixth place with a fastest time of 01:18.0019s and speaking following the session he said:
“I don’t think going out on the [Firestone] Blacks was the right call but we’re trying to stay aggressive and trying to capitalize in areas where we think we can. In the end of the day, I don’t think we had the pace for Ryan, but we decided to try something different and see where it got us. This race is 85 laps. It’s pretty difficult to just do one lap around here, let alone 85 so we’ll make sure we build a good race car. I don’t see us starting behind Dixon that big of an issue, we just need to make sure we build a good race car and make sure we do the best job that we can and extract the most out of the 27. It will be difficult without the warm-up tomorrow. It’s a little bit of a guessing game but my engineer, Jeremy, missed his daughter’s birthday for this so, happy birthday! We’ll make sure we make the right decisions to have a fast race car. We have really good teammates around us and in front of us so we’ll lean on them to help build a fast car for tomorrow.
Zach Veach in the No.26 Group 1001 Honda starts the race from 10th place having set a fastest time of 01:17.9111s and speaking following the session he said:
“I’m a little disappointed to be starting 10th. I think we definitely had a car to be starting a little further up. I didn’t get the clean lap we needed. That’s why Sonoma is so tough – you get one lap to really do it, and that’s about it. I just made a small mistake going through Turn 2 on the fast lap and that’s what solidified our fate. But, I know we have a good car and we’ll keep pushing and move forward tomorrow. I think this season has really helped me understand how the whole process works a little better – getting timing, making sure you have the right gap and have the car set up properly for the [Firestone] Reds. I think we were just a little too aggressive for the reds today. Comparing where we were in St. Pete to Portland and here, I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made this season.