IndyCar - Andretti Autosport Qualifying Report
BALTIMORE, Sept. 3, 2011: The unique circuit at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix proved to be the talk of qualifying Saturday on the 14th stop on the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.
The bumpy front straightaway of Pratt Street and the smooth pavement of Conway Street made for vast contrast in the suspension settings of the IndyCars. But the 28-driver field put in a sensational round of time trials before a large Saturday crowd in downtown Baltimore. The Andretti Autosport drivers worked hard to master the tough, new street track.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, seeking to reach the top-five in the point standings, continued his solid performances on street circuits by driving the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda entry into the Firestone Fast Six qualifying round. Hunter-Reay, winner of the New Hampshire event last month, has been strong in the road course events including third place finishes at Toronto and Mid-Ohio. In the final qualifying round, the Florida veteran posted a time of one minute, 21.009 seconds for an average speed of 90.656 mph to start sixth in Sunday's 75-lap feature set to begin at 2:45 p.m. EDT. The first-ever Baltimore Grand Prix will be televised live on VERSUS TV beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.
Long Beach winner Mike Conway looked to be in contention for a spot in the Firestone Fast Six with the new No. 27 Team Buffalo Wild Wings car after a superb first round qualifying session. Conway secured the eighth position for Sunday's race with a time of 1:20.907 and 90.770 mph in the second qualifying round.
Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick will start 23rd and 25th respective Sunday at Baltimore. Andretti, currently seventh in IZOD IndyCar Series points, recorded a speed of 88.597 mph in the No. 26 Team All Natural Snapple machine. Patrick, in the No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com car, clocked in at 88.465 mph.
MARCO ANDRETTI, #26 TEAM ALL NATURAL SNAPPLE CAR
Starts tomorrow's race in P23
"The Snapple car was just too loose today - I couldn't get into the corners. We were fighting the back end of the car. I obviously would have liked to have had better track position for the start, but we'll do what we can to gain during the race tomorrow."
MIKE CONWAY, #27 TEAM BUFFALO WILD WINGS CAR
Will start the race from P8
"I'm a bit disappointed we didn't make the top six obviously, but the car's not too bad. I think we need to work a little bit on the race setup, but the Buffalo Wild Wings car seems to be consistent if you look at my lap times. It was hard to get much more out of it. Tomorrow's going to be a long day around here I think; lots can happen, and it's easy to make a mistake. We'll just try and keep clean and work our way forward."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, #28 TEAM DHL/CIRCLE K/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA CAR
Qualified in the Firestone Fast Six and will start P6
"It was a pretty decent session for us. I think sixth was as good as the car was going to go today. We got everything out of it. The good thing is that the DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop team made it to the Fast Six and we're starting somewhat up front. We're going to need to make the car better in warm-up tomorrow morning and go fight our way to the front. The guys did a good job. It wasn't quite as quick as we'd like, but I think that's what we were getting out of it today."
DANICA PATRICK, #7 TEAM GoDaddy.com CAR
Starts the race in P25
"We're really frustrated with our qualifying time. The track has some good passing opportunities but there are also a lot of tight areas. Tomorrow's race is going to be a lot of work, but I'm hoping we can move the GoDaddy.com car through the field and have a better result than our qualifying time shows."