IndyCar » 15 September 2012
Hunter-Reay untroubled by poor qualifying
Championship contender Ryan Hunter-Reay has insisted that he is not worried about his poor starting grid position for Saturday night's IndyCar season finale in Fontana.
If Ryan Hunter-Reay was disappointed about his performance in qualifying on Friday afternoon - 17th fastest on the timesheets, putting him in 22nd spot on the starting grid for Saturday night's MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championship season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California - then he wasn't showing it.
"Today we didn't concentrate at all on qualifying," he explained. "We went out there kind of not knowing what we had. I was one of the first team cars, had a massive imbalance that [my team mates] learned from," he said. "All the Andretti cars have been trying different setups.
"That's the downside to going first [in qualifying]," he said. "I knew with the lift I had in qualifying it wasn't going to be a good one," he admitted.
As far as Hunter-Reay was concerned, qualifying performance and the starting grid position were largely irrelevant when it came to such a marathon race in any case.
"It's a 500-mile race," he said. "At the same time you don't want to be buried in traffic either ... It's always better to be up at the front. It's usually drama-free. We'll be looking to get up there as soon as possible."
More important in his eyes was the opportunity that the teams had on Friday evening to get out on track as dusk started to near, which is the same time of day that the race will start at.
He said that the plan was to "put that to use, shake it down, get a good feel for it, put it on track for tomorrow night. A good racecar around here is one that's well-balanced and stays under you over the long run, that's what we're looking for."
Hunter-Reay's rival for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship, Will Power, broadly agreed with that analysis.
"Honestly, the only thing that it's good for is to maybe be keeping out of if something happens. Apart from that, you can start a lap down, still come back and win the thing," said Power. "You can be a lap down halfway and still come back and win. So, yeah, it's not a big deal."
Both drivers emphasises just how changeable the conditions had proven to be in the heat of the Californian desert.
"It was very unpredictable," stressed Power. "Wind changes, the whole track changes. I had totally different balance to what I had all weekend. I got hard limiter both laps down the back straight on a bump."
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