Here’s one for you: name the last race before the Honda Indy Toronto race one where all of Andretti Autosport’s cars missed the Firestone Fast Six.
If you guessed any race this year, you’re wrong. The last time the last round of IZOD IndyCar Series qualified didn’t have any of the fearsome foursome, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti or E.J. Viso, was Sonoma in 2012.
Hunter-Reay will start sixth as a result of James Jakes’ engine change penalty, but had his charge on Friday halted again, ironically, by Takuma Sato. Sato contacted “RHR” in the pits last week at Pocono, costing the defending series and race champion pivotal points. Friday, during Q2 of IndyCar’s knockout qualifying, Sato’s contact with the Turn 1 wall cost Hunter-Reay the chance to improve his fastest lap.
“It’s frustrating. We had a great car today; we led the first practice,” said Hunter-Reay. “I’d like to thank the guys, the crew on the No. 1 DHL team for giving me a great car. I’d like to thank (Takuma) Sato for knocking us out of the session again today. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll be fighting again tomorrow, we’ll be fighting again on Sunday.”
Andretti will start 10th, while Hinchcliffe and Viso failed to advance out of Q1 and will start alongside each other on Row 7.
“You always want to do your laps in the end, but I’m sure I’m in the same boat as everyone else, so I can’t use that final red flag as an excuse,” said an introspective Andretti. “We tried something for the second qualifying round that didn’t really help, so it’s a bummer for the Dr Pepper crew.
“I think the race tomorrow will come down to attrition,” he added. “Mistakes will be made during the race, but hopefully not from us. Hopefully there isn’t too much carnage, but there might be with the first standing starts. I think the fans are going to be in for a good show.”