Ryan Hunter-Reay Puts Chevrolet on the Pole in Brazil

Story posted - May 04 2013 9:35 PM

Ryan Hunter-Reay Puts Chevrolet on the Pole in Brazil
Defending IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Sets New Track Record

SÃO PAULO, Brazil – (May 4, 2013) – Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay proved to be the master of the 11-turn, 2.536-mile temporary circuit on the Streets of São Paulo at the conclusion of today's Firestone Fast Six qualifying session. Behind the wheel of the No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, Hunter-Reay set a new track record with a lap of one minute 20. 4312 seconds at 113.508 m.p.h. to become the fastest qualifier for Sunday's Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle. It is the second consecutive year that a driver powered by a Chevrolet V6 twin turbocharged engine will lead the IZOD IndyCar Series field to green flag in Brazil.

It is the second pole of the season for Hunter-Reay and his third 2013 front row starting position in four races. It is his first pole at São Paulo, but his third front-row starting position for the 75-lap, 190.2-mile race.

"I gave it everything I had and it's great to get the DHL Chevrolet up front again and on pole," said Hunter-Reay. "That's three of the four races this year that we've been on the front row and twice on pole. I'm so happy for the guys and everything they've done for me."

Making it an all-Andretti Autosport front row will be E.J. Viso, No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA CITGO Andretti Autosport Chevrolet. The second quickest run is Viso's best effort in three trips to the Streets of São Paulo.

"Congratulations to Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport on securing the pole for the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300, and setting a new track record in the process", said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing IZOD IndyCar Series Program Manager. "Ryan continues to earn the right to carry the number 1 on his car and demonstrates the "Never Give Up" attitude that resonates with Chevrolet. Having seven Team Chevy drivers qualify in the top-10 for tomorrow's race is a clear demonstration of the ongoing commitment to top performance by our teams and technical partners, but it will require focus and solid execution to win in the highly competitive IZOD IndyCar Series. The very enthusiastic Brazilian fans are going to be treated to a tremendous race on Sunday."

Other Chevrolet Qualifiers are: Tony Kanaan, No. 11 Itaipava KV Racing Technology SH Racing Chevrolet – 4th; James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport Chevrolet – 5th; Sebastien Bourdais, No. 7 McAfee Dragon Racing Chevrolet – 7th; Simona de Silvestro, No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KV Racing Technology Chevrolet – 8th; Marco Andretti, No. 25 RC Cola Andretti Autosport Chevrolet – 10th'; JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet – 11th; Oriol Servia, No. 22 Valspar Panther Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Chevrolet – 13th; Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet – 14th; Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet – 18th; Sebastian Saavedra, No. 5 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet – 20th and Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet – 22nd.

Dario Franchitti (Honda) and Scott Dixon (Honda) were third and sixth respectively in the Firestone Fast Six.

As is always the case, the final starting grid will not be made official by the IZOD IndyCar Series until after the race day morning warm-up set for 7:00 a.m. ET on Sunday.

The Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle for the IZOD IndyCar Series will be held on Sunday, May 5 on the streets of São Paulo, Brazil. The race will be televised live at 11 a.m. (ET) by the NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211 and www.indycar.com.

CHEVROLET DRIVER POST QUALIFYING QUOTES:
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER: "I gave it everything I had and it's great to get the DHL Chevrolet up front again and on pole. That's three of the four races this year that we've been on the front row and twice on pole. I'm so happy for the guys and everything they've done for me. Tomorrow's when the challenge though. We thought we had a good car at Long Beach, and once we got into the race, I knew we were challenged and would be for the rest of the day. We need to make sure we've fixed those things this time and go out and have a great race. Starting on pole here is a challenge because you are a sitting duck out front on the long straights.

E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT HVM CHEVROLET, 2nd FASTEST QUALIFIER: "I'm definitely feeling much better after today's qualifying. To be starting on this track on the front row is great. I'm very grateful for the great car that team gave me today. It was good enough for the front row, and I have a lot of faith in them that tomorrow we are going to have a good car in the race that is going to stay and keep that pace. Congratulations to my teammate Ryan - he did a great job and I'm very happy for him to get the pole position."

TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 ITAIPAVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY SH RACING CHEVROLET, 4TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: "It was a great team effort by KV. We had a great car from the get go, but there was no way I could beat those guys that had sticker reds during the Fast Six. It was a disadvantage not having the new Firestones, but you know, they got it by luck because of how their qualifying group went on. I'm happy. This is my home race; we have the fans cheering and the backing from my local sponsor. Starting in fourth in a street course is not bad at all and I think it's going to be weird seeing just three cars in front of me at the start."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 5TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: "You like to be in the Firestone Fast Six, but obviously there was a bit more pace if you look at the teammates. Ryan's a different deal – with what happened with him and the tires… he didn't luck out, he earned it, but definitely caught a break with Q1 getting through on blacks. E.J. is really the star of the show to me. He did a hell of a job on that second run. I tapped the wall on my fast lap in Q3 – probably cost us little bit of time. Probably could have been an Andretti Autosport one-two-three, so I feel bad I let the team down in that respect. I think we've got a solid race car; we can definitely race from fifth tomorrow. We just need to keep our nose clean and finish. The last couple of evens have been hard and we've got to get the Go Daddy car Chevy back up front."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 7TH FASTEST QUALIFER: "We got very lucky in the first segment. But the car isn't bad. We're just still fighting understeer. There's a mystery somewhere. The car is very comfortable but it's not fast enough. We just don't have the front grip. The guys did a really nice job fixing it and putting it back together after the incident in the second practice where we had a clutch issue. Thumbs up to the team. Hopefully it's a turning point of our season but it's far from over yet."

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, 8TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: "I think we had a pretty strong car, but I don't feel like we got a really good lap out of it because there at the end Viso kind of got in our way. He kind of stopped and I thought I was going to gap so that I could get an extra lap and then he went around the corner and totally slowed down into turn one so we didn't get those two laps. It was really frustrating because he was on a straightaway and he knows he was slow. But, we start eighth and I think we can be ok with that. I think we'll definitely have a little bit more tires than the six guys in front of us, so hopefully we can make some positions up and go race. I feel like we're pretty strong overall so hopefully it'll be a good race tomorrow."

MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 10TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: ""We were kind of on our own, setup wise. We were way different than the teammates, and it ended up biting us a bit. But I still think we have a podium car that we can change to and a podium would be a great finish for the RC Cola crew tomorrow – we can do it from 10th."

JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, 11TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: "We feel like it went pretty well. We left a little bit on the table in Q2, got caught out by some shifting issues. I think we were a little bit behind the curve on trimming the cars out, so I think maybe we just were losing some kind of free lap time on the straights, but the car's been quite good all day. I think we should be set up for a good race. We qualified 11th and I think we're faster than that, so if we can just figure out how to get set up and get on a good strategy we should be good tomorrow."

(ON MIX OF DRIVERS QUALIFYING UP FRONT AND HOW IT AFFECTS COMPETITION IN THE RACE) "It's going to be tough, because it's definitely a place you can pass, so whether it's us making our way up the field or guys like Will and Helio stuck all the way at the back, it's definitely a place that you don't have to rely on some wicked fuel strategy to get yourself ahead of guys. It's going to be really important tomorrow that you're actually fast in the race to end up at the front, because like there are some cars in the back that are quick, I think there are cars in the front that might end up dropping like a rock. We'll see how it goes, and around here it's always a trade-off between how much you trim out to have a good car on the straights to how long you can make your tires last. Depending on where yellows fall and all that kind of stuff, that could be a big drama one way or the other by the time we get to the end."

ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 VALSPAR PANTHER DREYER AND REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET, 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: "I think the track is a lot more fun by changing the first corner a little bit, for us and the fans. It's just definitely gotten a lot faster and I think it's more spectacular. The session went well, we definitely wanted to advance to the next round and unfortunately we didn't. The red came at the wrong time for I think everybody, and it was a weird session. We have a good car for tomorrow; it is a place that you can pass more than any other place with the long straight, so it will be an exciting race."


ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY'S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, 14TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: "Well, that was a pretty weird qualifying session today. A crash halts the first group in the first round and a blown engine stops the second group. We always try to go out early and collect a lap or two in case something brings out the red flag. And that is what happened today. We just missed advancing to the next group in seventh, but our Fuzzy's Chevy is working better with each run. The weather should be okay for the race this time. A lot of things can happen Sunday. We'll be ready to go when they drop the green flag."

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 18TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: "Today was very frustrating; we try to not leave the last minute to get caught in one of those situations but unfortunately today was our turn. It was a very unusual scenario and I hate it for the entire Hitachi team because the Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet was running really well, especially in the practices earlier today. I'm shocked about our result but we never say never and will give it all we have tomorrow."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 20TH FASTEST QUALIFIER:

WILL POWER, NO. 12 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 22ND FASTEST QUALIFIER: "Tough break today to not be able to qualify the way we wanted, it's especially bad because the Verizon car had been so quick all day. We felt pretty good going into the qualifying and unfortunately didn't have time to run the lap we wanted after doing a lap on the blacks (Firestone Tires). Now we turn the focus to doing the best we can tomorrow and getting the most out of the points."

POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT

RYAN HUNTER-REAY
E.J. VISO

THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by E.J. Viso.
E.J., if you can, talk about today's qualifying run.

E.J. VISO: Well, hello, everyone. Very happy to be back here in Brazil. This is pretty much my home race, even if it's still a five-hour flight from my home.

I'm very happy to achieve this second place in qualifying. I need to thank my team, Andretti. They be just a great team to be driving for. They gave me a very competitive car today in the qualifying. Very proud on the way little by little we've been working as a team.

Having the feedback from Ryan, Michael, James, interaction between the four of us has only been positive so far. I believe this is only the beginning of plenty of good results we're going to be able to achieve this year only because things are just very positive in that team. Things are flawless in every single department, technical, media, marketing. It's really refreshing to be racing for them.
I'm extremely thrilled to be there.

THE MODERATOR: We've also been joined by Ryan Hunter-Reay.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan, could you talk about your day.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It was a good day. We started out not so happy with the car. For the second session, put stuff together. We put our heads together with all the engineers. I'm proud of how the team came together and moved the right direction as one. We made a difference in the second session.

We knew what direction we wanted to go. I think that was the difference-maker. It was fun out there today. This track is pretty interesting in qualifying. It's anybody's guess who is going to end up up front. Today was no different.

Just happy to be starting on the front row. More than anything to be out of the accordion effect for the turn one, and hopefully on the restarts as well, hopefully we'll still be up there.
Three races out of four on the front row, really proud of the guys and the cars they've been giving me. Now we just need to bring home some good points tomorrow, that's most important, heading into Indy.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. E.J., is this front-row start surprising to you?

E.J. VISO: To be honest, no. Since I joined this team, I knew the potential the team had. More than a potential, it was obvious jumping into the champion team, having extremely competitive teammates. My crew, everybody, we are all new on the team.

The beginning was very tough. But we knew we could do it. In every single race, we've shown we had the pace. We did the fastest lap last week. St. Pete we passed 16 cars in the race. I knew and I know that very good results are ahead.

I just feel that now everything is starting to click in my career. I'm very happy to be just with a team that is as dedicated as this one.

Q. I'm curious to know about the red and black tires on this track. It's a fairly long road course. How many laps does it take to get heat in those tires?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It seems to be taking longer than expected. I was surprised it took the reds so long to come in. Same thing with the blacks.
We'll see tomorrow. It's going to be anybody's guess which is the hot ticket to be on. It seems we're starting (indiscernible) a little bit more than this years past.

Q. Did you feel any difference with the new car in the new corner that has changed in terms of security or safety, handling?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: The new corner now, it is wider. It opens up an opportunity for passing. It's very inviting. But the problem is the entry speed is so much higher now, so we're not stopping as much.
I'm torn which way it will go tomorrow. I'm not sure how much passing there's going to be with that entry. We'll still have a lot of passing.
The good thing is the margin for error is bigger now. I think you won't have as many yellows there because it's wider, you can get two cars around side-by-side maybe when they're going slow.

Q. Ryan, although you had a great race in the first two spring sessions, Will Power seems to be almost unbeatable. Do you feel a little bit lucky he wasn't there in the first six positions or not, or did you feel like you could beat him?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: We're used to hearing that: He would have won, if.
It's everybody's risk to go out, like Dario said. We went out early on blacks, on black tires. I mean, yeah, he's very quick here. I had the same thing happen to me at Baltimore with the championship on the line. I didn't get to put a lap in, went out the next day and won the race.
He's not out of it here. Hopefully we'll do a better job tomorrow working with my teammates. I think Andretti Autosport will do very well tomorrow. I'm also proud of having E.J. up here, too. It's great to have him up here. But, yeah, you're right, we're not out of it. We'll just keep plugging away day to day, trying to get back up there. There's no grand plan to do it. Just get out there and capitalize every week and do your best to get back in the points fight.

 
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