Andretti Autosport did a great job during qualifying for Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach as they will have three of the four cars starting the race in the top ten. Ryan Hunter Reay will start the race from third place just ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe and just behind Scott Dixon’s No.9 NTT DATA Honda. Speaking following the session, Hunter Reay commented by saying:
Certainly much better than last year (at Long Beach). This team has worked so hard over the offseason and we’ve all worked together – that’s the important thing – a lot of testing and we’ve definitely found a good direction now. It’s great to have this yellow and red DHL Honda back up where it belongs, back up in the sharp end of the grid, especially here at Long Beach. It’s been such a special track for me both personally and professionally. To be starting up front like this is definitely a nice surprise, it’s a nice break over what we experienced on the street courses. So far, we’re checking off the boxes. It’s a long way to go and we have a lot of work to do, tomorrow is going to be a tough race. But, the weather is beautiful here in Southern California, the fans are great, the crowd is unbelievable for a Saturday and we’ve got everybody here from DHL. Big thanks to the Andretti guys for such hard work and hopefully we can make them all proud tomorrow.
It was a really good day. It was the NAPA Racing team’s first (Firestone) Fast Six appearance, which is a huge turn around for Andretti Autosport and Honda from last year. I don’t think we maximized all our practice potential, so it was nice to put it out there today in qualifying. The NAPA AUTO PARTS car has been strong all weekend and now we can look forward to tomorrow.
We lucked out on transferring into Round 2 – I had a huge moment there and were lucky to not come back on the hook. So, we were lucky to transfer and missed the Firestone Fast Six by half-a-tenth (of a second). To qualify the UFD car 10th and miss Q3 by half a tenth, it shows you what IndyCar racing is all about – it’s super tight. Every 100th (of a second) counts and it’s going to make for a great race tomorrow.
It was a disappointing qualifying today after having a good session in practice. We didn’t have a good lap – it’s just that kind of day, it’s a shame. But, I think we have a good car, so hopefully we can recover tomorrow.