Ryan Hunter-Reay posted a lap of 1 minute, 05.3519 seconds in the Chevrolet-powered No. 1 DHL car for Andretti Autosport to earn the Verizon P1 Award for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 4.
The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion came tantalizing close to the track record of1:05.347 shared by Dario Franchitti (August 1999) and Gil de Ferran (August 2000) in the Firestone Fast Six to claim his third pole of the season and first in eight starts at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
There are six races left in the season and Hunter-Reay is third in the standings (68 points behind front-runner Helio Castroneves).
“Last year we clawed back from bigger deficits,” he said. “Being late in the season, we need to go like we did last year at the end of the season, which is go for broke. We’re not interested in banking results right now and going for second or third in the championship because nobody really remembers who finishes second a couple of years from now.
“We’re going for it. Hopefully this is the first step in it. But we have a long way to go, includingtomorrow’s fight for the win. It’s going to be a long, hard race going up against the Ganassi, Penske boys and my teammates as well.”
Will Power, the 2012 pole sitter in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, was .1840 of a second back for his fourth front-row start of the season. Scott Dixon, who has won the past two races at Mid-Ohio and four of the past six, will be on Row 2 with Marco Andretti, who made his first appearance of the season in the Firestone Fast Six.
Dixon’s teammate Charlie Kimball tied his career-best qualifying effort of fifth and Franchitti checked in sixth. Castroneves, who enters the 90-lap race with a 29-point lead over Dixon, will start 15th in the No. 3 PPG Team Penske car. It’s his fourth non-top 10 qualifying result of the season and the first since Milwaukee in mid-June. He finished second in that 250-lap race on the one-mile oval.