The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama proved to be the best IndyCar race of the year to date. Threatening weather on Saturday held off for both practice sessions and qualifying, and Sunday was a perfect sunny and 80 degrees.
Barber Motorsports Park is one of the most beautiful but also most difficult tracks on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. The BHA team worked hard all weekend to improve on setup, and finished Saturday in 16th qualifying position.
Tire preservation, especially in the rear, proved to be a key to success in Sunday’s 90 lap race. Gabby Chaves and the BHA team started on the primary “black” tire, but opted to pit early for the softer/faster “reds”. A yellow three laps later allowed the #98 to gain a number of positions as others pitted.
Running in the top ten, Chaves made his second pit stop for another set of “reds”; however, the grip of this set did not match that of the earlier set and this cost the #98 car a great deal of time on the third stint of the race. Following the last yellow of the race from laps 34-38, the race stayed green through the finish. “Sticker” (new) red tires for the last stint of the race did not allow Chaves to improve his position resulting in a 16th place finish.
Gabby Chaves on Honda Indy GP of Alabama:
“We ended up with the right strategy to take us to a possible top 8 finish. One of our stints on the red tires, we just couldn’t hang on to the handling. About 4 or 5 laps in, and it just took us off the pace. I’m very happy we again showed our strength in race trim and had strong stops by the BHA guys.”
Bryan Herta on Honda Indy GP of Alabama:
“We had a good clean race, and with a little luck could have been in the top ten easily. Everyone was very evenly matched in race trim; as usual the #98 car was strong in race conditions. Gabby and the Bowers & Wilkins crew all did a good job today. Gabby is getting better every race, it’s a huge learning curve moving into these cars, and he had his best race to date today. I’m looking forward to both races at Indy next month.”
About Bryan Herta Autosport:
Co-Founded by veteran driver Bryan Herta, Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) has been a race-winning team in Indy Lights competition since 2009 and won the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with driver Dan Wheldon in only its second Verizon IndyCar Series start. BHA currently fields entries in the Verizon IndyCar Series and in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Series as Bryan Herta Rallysport. Since 2012, BHA has partnered with Bowen Motorsports of Toronto, Ontario. For more information, visit www.bryanhertaautosport.com.