Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, Qualifying Report

Qualifying for the Firestone 600 is in the books from No Limits, Texas — the dubbed home of Texas Motor Speedway — and tomorrow’s 248-lap race will see Detroit race winner Carlos Muñoz starting from the fourth position, the highest qualifying effort for the Andretti Autosport team and Honda.

Always a standout driver at Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.455-mile oval, Marco Andretti qualified the Snapple car in the 11th position after running inside the top 10 during morning practice. Through his previous 10 starts at TMS, Andretti has led 82 laps with a best finish of third (2010).

The day got to a rough start for series veteran Ryan Hunter-Reay as his No. 28 car made contact with the outside wall in Turn 2 during the first practice session. With Hunter-Reay, the tub and the engine unharmed, the DHL crew worked hard to rebuild the rear of the car, completing repairs in time for qualifying. But the loss of both track and prep time cost the team valuable information in determining the proper qualifying set up. Hunter-Reay will start 21st tomorrow. The American’s best finish at TMS is second (2013) and he has led a career total of 35 laps in Fort Worth.


“I thought the first lap was okay, but it feels good to be the first Honda in the class. At least the top four weren’t all Penskes – I’m really happy. I think here, qualifying is quite important in order to stay in the front because passing is so hard here. You have to have a good car for the race, a constant car. It was good to have my teammates (Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti) to qualify in front of me – that’s the good thing about qualifying in the back (of the field) your teammates can give you information on how they did, what they did. A big thanks to them for their help, and especially the Cinsay/AndrettiTV crew. Tomorrow is a long race, so we’ll keep it clean the whole time.”


“I’m really happy with the 27 crew, we’re really maximizing as much as we can in situations. All we can do is the best we can and we just have to keep plugging. The race here is always interesting and we should be able to find a few spots tomorrow night.”


“After having the car in the wall this morning, we had to go with something for qualifying (setup). We had to be a little conservative with it – we certainly missed it (setup wise), but we expected to though. Qualifying here at Texas (Motor Speedway) doesn’t mean much but hopefully we were able to (relay information) to help the teammates out a little bit.”

On qualifying after not having a chance to shake down the car following the crash and rebuild:
“It’s all about faith, you have no choice other than to have trust in the car and have faith that it’s going to be there for you when you go into Turn 1 the first time. It’s definitely a tough thing to do, and most IndyCar drivers have been there, but we just have to get along with it. Lap 1 is interesting no matter what, but we got through it. We knew we were going to miss it, but we can make up a bunch of spots on Lap 1 tomorrow.”