INDYCAR & MRTI: ROAD AMERICA RACE REPORT
VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES - SUNDAY, JUNE 26
It was a hard fought race day at Road America for the Andretti Autosport stable of four, with Ryan Hunter-Reay coming away from the weekend with a fourth-place finish, plus four from his race start. Colombian Carlos Muñoz leaves the 4.048-mile circuit with a top-ten finish while Marco Andretti climbed his way from a 21st-place start to finish 12th. Alexander Rossi suffered front wing failure, turning his charge from 16th into a 15th-place result.
No. 28 DHL Honda
"It was good in all considering, we really had to fight for it today. The car was not ideal in the beginning of the race, especially on used reds and blacks. Once we got going, in the end the – I think with the rubber down (on the track), everything started to suit us. The DHL car was good at the end. We had a pretty good fight with a few (other cars). There was some pretty dirty racing though by a couple others, but we’ll talk about all of that stuff here after the weekend. Just really great to see the fan turn out today here at Road America – any time you see a bunch of fans starting right away on Friday, you know it’s going to be a good weekend."
No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda
"It was a hard race. We didn’t have a lot of rhythm, if I am honest. The last few laps I lost some spots. We were a little bit behind this race. We were looking better yesterday, I don’t know what happened today. It was a great turnout for such a great track though. It’s good to have INDYCAR back at Road America. I think the first few laps had a good show for the crowd. It was good to see so many people here."
No. 27 United Fiber & Data / Snapple Honda
"Yeah, it was just a tough race. I need more out of myself, I feel like I let the guys down all weekend. I made that mistake in qualifying so we started on the back row which made our Sunday way more difficult than it needed to be. Then we tried with strategy but weren’t able to gain as much ground as we needed. We were preparing to pit when that yellow came out, so things could have turned out differently there. Twelfth from 21st is ok, but we wanted better for the UFD / Snapple team."
No. 98 Castrol EDGE / Curb Honda
"The race started pretty well. We were fighting for the top ten on the first stint. After the first pit stop we had a front wing failure, which is two this weekend and difficult to swallow. We had to come in for a front wing change so that was pretty much our race right there. I thought the car was pretty good and thought we could drive to the front. None the less I am very happy IndyCar is back to Road America. I think the fan reception was fantastic, so I look forward to hopefully coming back here in the future."
INDY LIGHTS PRESTENTED BY COOPER TIRES RACE 1-SATURDAY, JUNE 25
The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship resumed under beautiful racing conditions this afternoon as the Andretti trio lined up on the starting grid for Race 1 of the Mazda Indy Lights Grand Prix of Road America. On the opening two laps of the 14-turn track, Dean Stoneman had already jumped to second position from his fifth place start. Shelby Blackstock saw the green flag from the 11th position and made the ultimate pass to run as high as sixth. Dalton Kellett began the race from 14th and had jumped up to 12th position before having to retire early.
No. 27 Stellrecht Mazda
• Collected fifth consecutive podium with today’s second-place finish
• Remains second in championship point standings; narrowing the gap to only 22 points behind leader, Ed Jones
• Will start tomorrow’s race from the fifth position
“We knew it was going to be difficult at the beginning of the race. The Carlin cars are fast and we knew we needed to get around them to be able to go for the win, so I used my push-to-pass quite early in the race to try to take the lead. We had a good restart after the yellow flag and I knew I had a five-second penalty, so I had to make up some time. But, it was a great race. I used the tools we had in the car and we were able to roll the car into second.”'
No. 51 Starstruck Mazda
• After an unfortunate spin off track, saw the double checkers in 13th
• Will see the green flag from 11th for tomorrow’s 20-lap race
“Today was an up-and-down race. The team worked really hard over night to make the car better for qualifying. The car has been a handful all weekend long- not really doing one thing at a time. The car was very good in the race. We went from 11th to sixth and with the penalties given out, I think we would’ve been in fifth. Still moving forward, had the car underneath me and the confidence to drive through the field. Our car was a lot better race-wise than most of our competitors. It could’ve turned into a good day and we may have finished right behind our teammate. Unfortunately after making a pass in Turn 3, the car snapped loose and I bottomed the tub out on the exit curb which sent it into a spin that I couldn’t recover. Very happy with the team and very happy with the car, so I am ready to get the car out there tomorrow.”
No. 28 K-LINE Insulators USA, Inc. Mazda
• Spun off course on Lap 7 retiring in 14th
• The Canadian will grid in 14th for Round 10
“I got a little loose coming out of Turn 6 while battling with Garrett Grist and unfortunately backed it into the wall. This is a pretty tough track, but it’s a lot of fun. The good thing is you have a mix of high speed and low speed corners, so you’ve got to be pretty varied in your techniques. I would’ve liked to finish the whole race because we missed a lot of practice yesterday, but we still managed to get some good laps in on the K-Line Insulators car and I’m glad I was able to get some experience under my belt today for tomorrow’s race.”
INDY LIGHTS PRESENTED BY COOPER TIRES RACE 2 - SUNDAY, JUNE 26
A rainy morning always makes for an interesting race and that is exactly what today’s Round 10 of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competition gave us. The 20-lap race saw two full course cautions, a lot of passing and a hard battle once the track began to dry.
Dean Stoneman, who started the race from fifth, made his way up to second in just five laps and took the lead on Lap 7. After a series of unfortunate events on Lap 8 resulting in a caution, Stoneman was forced to pit just after the restart due to a punctured tire, which unfortunately put him a lap down. The Stellrecht crew took off the rain tires and put on slicks and the rookie was picking off cars quickly to get back on the lead lap, taking the checkered flag from ninth.
Shelby Blackstock lined up for green from 11th. Through the early laps of the race, Blackstock fell back to 12th position, but quickly gained momentum and by Lap 4 was up to 10th. Once the first caution came out and the field was set to restart, Blackstock took the opportunity to focus forward and was able to avoid a collision ahead of him and pick up the seventh place spot. By half-way call of the race, the Starstruck car was in fourth. With just three laps to go, the rain tires began to take a toll and Blackstock lost one position and was the top Andretti finisher crossing the line in fifth.
The weekend’s streak of bad luck continued for Dalton Kellett today, after battling issues with the car resulting in lack of practice time and retiring early from yesterday’s race. Kellett began Race 2’s 20-lap race from 14th and was off to a good start when his car landed in the sand of Turn 14 causing a full-course yellow. Although the car was running and the wheels were spinning, the No. 28 car was trapped and had to wait for the Holmatro Safety Team to dig him out, placing him one lap down. While never gaining his lap back, Kellett gained two positions from 14th to 12th when two cars collided on track and were forced to pit and retire.
The team takes a break for Independence Day celebrations before heading to corn-country for Round 11 of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competition. Practice begins at Iowa Speedway Saturday, July 9 at 2:15 p.m. ET.
No. 51 Starstruck Mazda
“Fairly happy with Race 2. Started 11th – it took a little to figure out the wet track, but once we figured it out, it was good. We could’ve come in and pitted for slicks, but you never know what happens then. Dean came in and pitted for slicks and it didn’t work out for them. It is kind of a 50/50 deal with that gamble. Overall a good day, P5 is good for points. It was a fun race slipping-and-sliding around on treads. I’m very happy I have the team behind me that I do. I’m happy after yesterday we were able to redeem ourselves a little and finish fifth.”
No. 27 Stellrecht Mazda
“It was a frustrating race. We were doing really well, the Stellrecht car was great. Unfortunately, a move was made and that damaged my front tire. It punctured my tire and I didn’t realize it under caution, so when we came up to the restart I didn’t feel it until I got down past the start/finish line, which is too late. So, I had to do a whole lap which cost us a lot of time. When I came in to fix the tire, we took a risk and put on slicks and just hoped for a safety car. It unfortunately just didn’t go the way we could have hoped. We did gain more points toward the championship, which is closer to the leader. All we can do is keep carrying on and prepare for Iowa.”
No. 28 K-LINE Insulators USA, Inc. Mazda
“It’s been a really tough weekend here at Road America for us. I was really excited to come back to Elkhart Lake and was looking forward to the race weekend. We unfortunately got off on the wrong foot and wasn’t really able to pick it up from there. I just feel really bad for the K-Line Insulators crew – they’ve worked hard all weekend and sadly we couldn’t bring them a good result. It’s Iowa up next for us and we’ve been good on ovals all year. I can’t wait to get back to short oval racing. This has definitely been a character building weekend and I’m happy to learn from it and move on.”