Hunter-Reay Secures Mid-Ohio IndyCar Pole
A win would be a great result for Power, who remains winless in 2013. But with a front row starting position on Sunday, Power is hoping to finally get that first win of the season.
“We’ve started on pole here a couple of times and just lost out during the pit sequence, yellows,” Power said. “I would definitely love to get a win. We’ll be doing everything possible. It’s going to be interesting to see how these strategies work out as far as fuel mileage goes. It looks like a three-stop race. You’ll have to have something special to do it in two. We’ll see how the yellows fall and so on.”
Andretti is fourth in the standings 70 points out of the lead and will start fourth on Sunday.
“Even though it’s my first top six, I’m still disappointed because I thought we had a little more potential,” Andretti said. “Even though we haven’t been showing it in practice sessions, I had a decent feel for the car. I didn’t feel too bad. I just needed a little more rotation to be quicker.”
Charlie Kimball was the second Ganassi driver to round out the top five with a lap at 1:06.4415 (122.345 mph) and Dario Franchitti of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing rounded out the Fast Six at 1:06.5854 (122.081 mph).
Hunter-Reay has the opportunity to climb back into the points race but Dixon is also in prime position, too. By starting so far back in the field, Castroneves will have to make up some ground in the race to keep his lead from shrinking.
“Of course we would have loved to be on the pole,” Castroneves said. “Starting 15th is not ideal when you’re going into the race as the points leader. 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.”
And neither is Hunter-Reay as he gets a much-needed boost with Saturday’s pole on a track where it is difficult to pass.
“There’s certainly a lot of weight placed on qualifying here,” Hunter-Reay said. “It’s crucial to be up towards the front. The thing is here, if you’re mid pack, you can have a lot of passing because you have a lot of comers and goers. There’s varying setups and strategies. It seems to be much easier to pass back there.
“Once you get into the top six, seven, eight cars, they’re all really dialed in. It’s tough to get that run on them, unless you experience lap traffic, which lap traffic really mixes up this race, or you have different fuel strategies or tires going off. At the end of stints, you’ll see some guys really lose the rear of the car and that will promote some passing.
It is somewhat difficult to pass here. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad race. We’re out there doing qualifying laps for two hours, so it’s plenty exciting from the car.”
And Hunter-Reay admits he can learn a few things from the “Master of Mid-Ohio” – Scott Dixon.
“Dixon is super consistent and smooth,” Hunter-Reay said. “It helps with the setup. If you have a car that’s really good, you can be super consistent. Dixon is a guy that I respect a lot, looked up to for years. He’s definitely one of the best IndyCar has ever seen.
“You can study his style, what he does. He’s just very consistent. He doesn’t have a lot of mistakes. If he’s leading out in front in the race, you’re not going to see him slip up and lose a position. Keep as cool head. The team executes for him.
“It’s all a package deal, though. It comes with the team, what the car gives you, so… Definitely I’ve studied him for years.”