15 September 2012
Hunter-Reay untroubled by poor qualifying
"This track has been changing every session, every lap," agreed Hunter-Reay. "With the heat today, we didn't have that yesterday, I mean, this is like Vegas heat. It's just constantly changing.
"It's definitely going to change and throughout the night the track will change as well, I've got a good feeling for where I want to run on the track during the race" he added. "What worked for me in Iowa I think could work here as well, so hopefully we'll use that," he added, recalling one of his three oval victories so far in 2012.
With Power and Hunter-Reay failing to set the fastest time of qualifying even before their ten place grid penalties were applied, neither gains the advantage of the extra championship points for pole position.
Instead, it's Marco Andretti who after a four year gap since his first at Milwaukee in 2008, finally picked up his second series pole position by just 0.011mph (0.0032s) ahead of Ryan Briscoe .
"I've been on the outside looking in on that hundredth of a mile an hour for the pole, I was on the good side of that today," said the delighted Andretti Autosport driver. "I had my mind made up that I was going flat - whatever was going to happen was going to happen.
"If I do a lazy lift, we're not going to have a chance for the pole," he said of his thoughts as he'd gone into his two-lap qualifying run. "I just went for it on lap one. She hung in there. But then lap two, I committed again to being flat. I had an even bigger lift. I should have, hindsight lap two, just done a lazy lift, just committed to lifting. Instead I committed to going flat and had to bail out big-time."
Even though his team mate Hunter-Reay is the only driver still in with a chance of thwarting Will Power's hopes of clinching the 2012 title, Andretti insisted that he wasn't going to be stepping aside to let anyone else win just for the sake of it.
"I know my teammate's in the championship," he said. "We're going to help him if we're around him on the track by not interfering, but this is going to race like a high-speed short oval. There's not much I can do drafting-wise to actually help him [but] I'm not going to hurt him or Will.
"We're definitely showing up here to win," he added. "I'm going to be out to try to win the race, end on a good note to carry some momentum into the off-season."
Ryan Briscoe will be starting alongside Andretti when the green flag comes out shortly before 6pm PST (2am BST Sunday morning), and he said he was expecting the season finale to be an absolute thriller.
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