Hunter-Reay Snares Pole For INDYCAR Grand Prix Of Sonoma

Ryan Hunter-Reay gets the P1 sticker after winning qualifying at the Grand Prix of Sonoma. © [Jamie Sheldrick / Spacesuit Media]


By Joe Jennings

Ryan Hunter-Reay snared the pole for the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma, smoothly navigating the 12-turn, 2.38-mile road course at the Sonoma Raceway, scene of the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale.

In garnering his first pole of the season and the seventh of his career, Hunter-Reay’s time and speed in the DHL Honda of Andretti Autosport were 1:17.6277 minutes and 110.605 miles per hour, respectively.

“It was a shootout at the last minute; those Firestone reds (tires) did such a great job,” the smiling pole winner stated.  “The 28 DHL team put such a great car under me.  We having been knocking on a pole at Sonoma for a number of years, so it is nice to get this pole.”

Scott Dixon had hoped for the pole but for a mistake in one turn that relegated him to a second starting position in the PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.  His time was 1:17.7599 minutes.

Said the dejected driver, who missed out on gaining an important point for the pole, “Driver error but the car was really good.  I locked up going through Turn 9.  I’m not sure but thought I had the pole (until then).   This year on road courses we haven’t been very good; this is only our second Fast 6 on a road course, even though we made all of them on the street courses.”

Third and fourth fastest qualifiers were Josef Newgarden and Marco Andretti.

Rounding out the top six in the Firestone Fast 6 qualifying competition were sensational rookie Patricio O’Ward and Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi.

In a strategic move by his Andretti Autosport team, Rossi was the only one in the top six to qualify on black tires, saving his red tires for the race.

Will Power, in his worst qualifying effort of the season, came in seventh and he will be flanked by teammate Simon Pagenaud.

Harding Group Chevrolet rookie Colton Herta, teammate to newly crowned Indy Lights champion O’Ward, will start the race in 19th.

The INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma will be telecast live on NBCSN at 3 p.m. ET Sunday.



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