Hunter-Reay Heads Honda Qualifying at Mid-Ohio

* Iowa race winner will start Honda Indy 200 from seventh
* Eleven drivers better existing lap record
* Sunday’s race to be broadcast on the CNBC Network

Ryan Hunter-Reay led the Honda field in qualifying Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and will start seventh in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200. Hunter-Reay, winner of the most recent Verizon IndyCar Series race, two weeks ago at Iowa Speedway, was one of 11 drivers to break the existing Mid-Ohio track record during the three-round “knockout” qualifying sessions. The old mark of 1:05.347 was set by Dario Franchitti 1999 and matched a year later by Gil de Ferran, both in Honda-powered Championship Auto Racing Teams Indy cars.

Hometown favorite Graham Rahal just missed advancing when he encountered slower traffic on his fast lap during the opening round, and a similar issue hampered Justin Wilson in his first-round run. Jack Hawksworth and Marco Andretti joined Hunter-Reay in making the second round, and will start 11th and 12th, respectively. Takuma Sato will make his 100th career Indy car start, for A.J. Foyt Racing, from 16th. Sunday’s 90-lap race starts at 2 p.m. EDT, with live network television coverage on the CNBC Network.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda): “I thought we had a shot [at transferring into the “Fast Six” final round], especially with the lap we put together at the end – that was everything the car had. I couldn’t believe we pulled that much time out of [the car]. We missed the Fast Six by a few thousandths of a second. We knew it was going to be close, but I’m having a blast anytime I’m at this track. We put a good car together every time we come here so we’ll keep our heads down and hopefully have a great day tomorrow. We’re coming off a win at Iowa, so hopefully we can end this season on a high for Andretti Autosport and Honda.”