"Qualifying didn't go like we thought so we'll just have to go back and figure out what happened, but the car was good in heavy traffic," stressed a disappointed Meira. "Last year we had a so-so qualifying run and had to race to the front so we will have to do it again tomorrow."
"We have been concentrating on the race setup for this weekend and I'm pleased with the direction we have gone so far," explained Hunter-Reay. "Sunday's race will be exciting with 29 Indy cars and the tight field. I think it is going to be a heck of a show."
Although Mike Conway put his Andretti Autosport car into 12th place alongside Dario for the start of tomorrow's race, it was generally bad news for the British contingent, with both Alex Lloyd and James Jakes struggling to find any pace in the Dale Coyne Racing cars. Jakes put in the slowest time of anyone who went out on track, although he will not actually have to start from the back row come the green flag on Sunday.
That's because two other Brits will be stuck there: Pippa Mann crashed the #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan car in a strange accident that saw the car snap left into turn 1 and hit the inside wall. Although Mann (only just back after a back injury sustained in a crash at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway) walked away unhurt, her car looked significantly more crumpled.
Dan Wheldon will also be starting from the back row, after his #77 Bowers and Wilkins Sam Schmidt Motorsports car failed technical inspection on a number of points, which could not be rectified in time to make a qualifying run. Wheldon is taking part in this week's race as a warm up for the IZOD World Championship race at Las Vegas on October 16, where he will be competing for a $5m prize but will be handicapped by having to start from the back row of the grid - making his starting position here ironically perfect for that purpose.
"We'll continue to work on it overnight," said the Indianapolis 500 champion. "I'd expected the field to be strong, but I didn't think about or even consider we'd be starting where we're starting."
Series newcomer, British former Indy Lights star Dillon Battistini, qualified in 25th position just ahead of Townsend Bell in his first-ever IndyCar qualifying session. "I am happy to get my first day of running at the race event under my belt today," he said after the run. "We ended up a bit off the pace we were hoping to achieve in qualifying, but we know which direction we want to take for the race. It's a long race tomorrow and I expect to be able to move up through the field with a solid race car set up underneath me."
Full qualifying times and positions