MotorSportsTalk looks through the Verizon IndyCar Series grid ahead of the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Here’s Andretti Autosport.
The three-time Indianapolis 500 championship team (2005, 2007, 2014) has endured a difficult start to the season and hope that Indy, a traditional stomping ground, can be the place where its 2016 ship gets righted with the usual five-car entry.
Carlos Munoz, No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda
Marco Andretti, No. 27 Snapple Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay (W), No. 28 DHL Honda
Townsend Bell, No. 29 California Pizza Kitchen/Robert Graham Honda
Alexander Rossi (R), No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda
2016 SEASON SO FAR
Heading into May, Andretti Autosport’s quartet has largely struggled with mechanical grip and balance on their cars, and hasn’t even been the leading Honda runner.
Ryan Hunter-Reay has driven brilliantly in the opening races but outside of a podium at St. Petersburg has little to show for it. Carlos Munoz feels confident in his ability but his pace has been negatively balanced out by mistakes. Marco Andretti has been great at passing but been stuck near the back of the grid and Alexander Rossi has been clean and consistent, but similarly hamstrung as his teammates in trying to advance out of the midfield.
Andretti’s hopes for all five of its bullets may rest on Honda’s engine improvements – in an ideal world, Andretti could spring a surprise on race day similar to what Ganassi and its Hondas then did in 2012.
Otherwise it could be a long month for the team that’s usually a top-five and win contender at Indy. The package may limit several of its drivers – and that’s the interesting part considering at least four of the team’s five drivers are notably strong here. Rossi remains a fascinating prospect for his first Indy 500 experience.
- 2015: 6. 27-Andretti (8), 15. 28-Hunter-Reay (16), 19. 29-de Silvestro (18), 20. 26-Munoz (11), 21. 25-Wilson (6)
- 2014: 1. 28-Hunter-Reay (19), 3. 25-Andretti (6), 4. 34-Munoz (7), 6. 26-Busch (12), 28. 27-Hinchcliffe (2)
- 2013: 2. 26-Munoz (2), 3. 1-Hunter-Reay (7), 4. 25-Andretti (3), 18. 5-Viso (4), 21. 27-Hinchcliffe (9)
- 2012: 6. 27-Hinchcliffe (2), 23. 25-Beatriz (13), 24. 26-Andretti (4), 26. 17-Saavedra (24), 27. 28-Hunter-Reay (3)
*Note, with Bryan Herta Autosport running under the Andretti banner for Rossi’s entry this year, here’s its record. The team will race five years to the day, May 29, after Dan Wheldon captured the dramatic win in the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500, the 95th running in 2011.
- 2015: 16. 98-Chaves (26)
- 2014: 20. 98-Hawksworth (13)
- 2013: 24. 98-Tagliani (11)
- 2012: 12. 98-Tagliani (11)