Race Report, Verizon IndyCar Series, Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

It was a soggy day in New Orleans as weather delays caused the planned 75-lap inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana to be cut to a timed event. The 105-minute timed race allowed for just 47 laps of racing — with six caution periods resulting in 25 laps of yellow flag conditions. It was a battle of patience and attrition for the mere 22 laps of green flag racing for the field of 24 Indy cars.

Swiss native Simona de Silvestro was the first Andretti driver to the see the twin checkers with a top-four finish. The only female driver in the field advanced 14 positions after starting from P18. Carlos Munoz, who started from 16th, ran as high as ninth and brought the No. 26 Honda home 12th. Series veteran Marco Andretti rolled off 10th for today’s wet start and quickly became one of the fastest cars on track after his change to Firestone racing slicks, but was caught out on yellows and recorded a 13th-place result. DHL driver Ryan Hunter-Reay was on his way to a second consecutive top-eight finish when he was collected in an on-track incident, leaving him sidelined with just eight minutes of racing remaining and too much damage on the 28 machine to return to the track.

The Verizon IndyCar Series packs up and heads west for Round Three of competition at the prestigious Grand Prix of Long Beach next weekend.

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO
NO. 25 ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT HONDA
“It was huge to get the race like this. Honestly we struggled the whole weekend. We weren’t where we wanted to be. The race – the car was pretty good and the tricky conditions kind of played in our way, and the team made a great call to come in at one point. It’s really cool, especially to be back here in IndyCar and especially with Andretti. It’s my second race with the team and finishing fourth, it’s great… it’s a great accomplishment.”

CARLOS MUNOZ
NO. 26 ANDRETTITV / CINSAY HONDA
“It was a really unusual race with all the cautions. At the end of the day, it was only strategy and to be lucky with the yellow flags – we didn’t get it right. The whole race I was in the top 10… It’s a shame of a weekend to not qualify; we started 14th because of points. Now we have to focus on the next race.”

MARCO ANDRETTI
NO. 27 MERCHANT FIRST / SNAPPLE HONDA
“I was hoping for more green laps, not only for myself to try and move forward, but for the show. It was a bit of a disappointment. Sitting under yellow is boring and we really wanted to get some good racing in. We’ll move on to Long Beach.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY
NO. 28 DHL HONDA
“We had a great race going, had some good clean racing there with (Graham) Rahal, (Will) Power — even (Simon) Pagenaud, we went side by side through Turn 10 there, it was some good racing. Then we got down to Turn 3… I’m peddling the car all the way out, it’s loose, there’s just no more room for (Pagenaud) to be out there. (Sebastien) Bourdais, is on my left, I don’t know where to go at that point. I’m using my regular racing line – (Pagenaud) stuck his nose out there (and was off the racing line)… And just cleans us all out. I’m happy all three of us are uninjured. (Pagenaud) said I ran him out of room, but there just was no room in the first place. I don’t know what to say to that — it’s certainly a racing incident but there wasn’t a whole lot of room there to begin with. Disappointing way to end the day, we were looking for a strong finish with the DHL Honda.”

Pro Mazda Race Report: Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

WEIRON TAN
NO. 22 WEIRON TAN
ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT MAZDA

* Today’s polesitter came to the checkered flag in the second position for today’s 20-minute race
* Clinched the pole position for Race Two which was later canceled due to un-raceable track conditions at the 2.74-mile circuit in the bayou

“Unfortunately Race Two was canceled due to bad weather, but Race One was good. The Andretti Autosport guys did a great job so a big thank you to them. We were strong all weekend, so it’s quite disappointing that we didn’t get to race in the second one; I think we would have had a really good chance to attack and battle for first place since we were starting on pole for that one, too. I think we got the setup right for Race Two – Race One wasn’t too good, but I think we fought hard and we collected second place which wasn’t too bad. We’re definitely looking forward to Barber (Motorsports Park) and hopefully do a much better job there and be more consistent.”

DALTON KELLETT
NO. 28 K-LINE INSULATORS USA, INC.
ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT MAZDA

* Rolled off the grid for today’s 11-lap race from the 11th position and maneuvered his way up to finish in P7 – the Canadian racer’s fifth top-10 finish on the 13-turn circuit in Avondale, LA
* Queen’s University student heads back to school to complete his finals for his senior year and will graduate soon after the Barber doubleheader

“It seems like we haven’t been able to escape the weather the whole weekend here at Nola. The first race went quite well – definitely very wet but I had a great car. The Andretti Autosport guys did a really good job; the car felt good and I was able to make up a few spots. We made our way into P7 by the end of the race and we were looking forward to an even better run in Race Two, but with all the water accumulation, we weren’t able to get the No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda back to racing.”