Hunter-Reay on pole at Mid-Ohio

Ryan Hunter-Reay is in perfect position to pick up some valuable championship points with his 3rd Verizon P1 Award of the year and nearly breaking the track record in the process in his #1 DHL Chevrolet Power. A gamble by team owner Michael Andretti to go out on reds in both qualifying sessions paid off, as Hunter-Reay was able to lay down fast laps in the Fast Six Session while other teams were on old tires.

“It took a lot of guts to do that strategy there,” said Hunter-Reay. “We put ourselves at risk there in that middle session to go on used reds against a field this competitive, but the risk paid off. That was definitely the most nerve-wracking part of that session, going out on used reds.”

Where you start is key at Mid-Ohio, the winner of the race has never started outside of the top 6 in the last 6 races. Points leader Helio Castroneves has a hole to dig out of starting from 15th.

Starting 15th is not ideal when you’re going into the race as the points leader, said Castroneves. We will need to work out a new strategy since we still start towards the rear of the field but the PPG guys are working hard to make the right changes to the car. Fortunately, for us today is only Saturday and the race will be tomorrow. We’re going to try something different because what we were planning on doing tomorrow strategy wise won’t work with as far back as we will have to start. We have not given up hope yet, tomorrow will be a long race and I know we’ll be able to make it back up.”

Will Power, looking for redemption after being involved in two last lap crashes at the Doubleheader in Toronto, will start second albeit two tenths off of Hunter-Reay’s time. Marco Andretti will start in 4th, his best start on a road course this season.

From the start of qualifying, it looked as if Ganassi Racing was planning another 1-2-3 start, with Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Charlie Kimball were 1-2-3 at the end of the first quailfying group. All three cars did make into the Fast Six, with Dixon starting 3rd, Kimball starting 5th and Franchitti starting 6th. Kimball’s top 5 run is a huge turnaround for the team after Kimball crashed earlier today in final practice.

It was a great effort by all the Chip Ganassi Racing guys,” said Kimball. “There were as many red shirts from the Target side in the garage as there were orange shirts. They gave me the easy job of driving the racecar. They kept kicking me out of the garage, telling me to get out of the way. All I had to do while they changed the backup was get the car ready for me and all I had to do was go out and drive it.

In his IZOD IndyCar Series debut driving for Barracuda Racing, Luca Filippi posted a lap that would have advanced him into the second session, but was involved in a single car incident early in the session and has his fastest two times stripped from the record and will start 24th.

James Davison, also making his series debut, made contact with Ed Carpenter early in the first session and otherwise had an uneventful qualifying session and will start in 17th.

Starting Lineup

Pos  Driver               Team/Engine      Time        Gap
 1.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti/Chevy   1m05.3519s
 2.  Will Power           Penske/Chevy     1m05.5359s  +0.1840s
 3.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi/Honda    1m05.7051s  +0.3532s
 4.  Marco Andretti       Andretti/Chevy   1m05.8566s  +0.5047s
 5.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi/Honda    1m06.4415s  +1.0896s
 6.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi/Honda    1m06.5854s  +1.2335s
 7.  Justin Wilson        Coyne/Honda      1m05.9405s  Round 2
 8.  Simon Pagenaud       Schmidt/Honda    1m05.9412s  Round 2
 9.  Simona de Silvestro  KV/Chevy         1m05.9621s  Round 2
10.  James Jakes          Rahal/Honda      1m06.1778s  Round 2
11.  Tristan Vautier      Schmidt/Honda    1m06.3379s  Round 2
12.  EJ Viso              Andretti/Chevy   1m06.4071s  Round 2
13.  James Hinchcliffe    Andretti/Chevy   1m06.2198s  Group 1
14.  Sebastien Bourdais   Dragon/Chevy     1m06.1856s  Group 2
15.  Helio Castroneves    Penske/Chevy     1m06.2280s  Group 1
16.  Takuma Sato          Foyt/Honda       1m06.1989s  Group 2
17.  James Davison        Coyne/Honda      1m06.2839s  Group 1
18.  Oriol Servia         Panther/Chevy    1m06.2109s  Group 2
19.  Josef Newgarden      Fisher/Honda     1m06.5334s  Group 1
20.  Tony Kanaan          KV/Chevy         1m06.2537s  Group 2
21.  Sebastian Saavedra   Dragon/Chevy     1m07.0895s  Group 1
22.  Graham Rahal         Rahal/Honda      1m06.4002s  Group 2
23.  Ed Carpenter         Carpenter/Chevy  1m07.4107s  Group 1
24.  Luca Filippi         Herta/Honda      1m06.8757s  Group 2
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