Drive Through Qualifying Penalty Haunts Hunter-Reay

Ryan Hunter-Reay
NAPA Racing driver Alexander Rossi stole the show in qualifying today, on the way to his second career Verizon P1 Award. And while the No. 27 will start from the front for the 85-lap race, penalties and misfortune struck the remaining Andretti drivers during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

No. 28 DHL HONDA DRIVEN BY RYAN HUNTER-REAY
  • STARTING POSITION: 7th
  • QUALIFYING TIME: 1:07.1415
  • OF NOTE: Served a questionable drive-through penalty during Round 2 of qualifying, which played part in the No. 28 not advancing to the Firestone Fast Six

“The DHL guys did a great job with the car and they deserve better. We had a front row car here, and we’re starting seventh. The drive-through penalty in qualifying isn’t something I really understand, and once we got issued that we didn’t have time to warm up the tires and set a new fast lap.  What we do is, we leave with a certain amount of time to get exactly the two or three laps we need. The tires are set to a pressure timed to those number of laps, so when you get a drive through like that your [tire temperatures] aren’t up yet, and you can’t get up to speed in time.”

On the drive through penalty: “We were in the top 12 and had a car that was easily fast enough to advance. We were leaving the pits on red tires and we did what I’ve always done here – which is put the right-side tires on the right side of the reflectors on the end of pit lane. From the vantage point in the car, you can’t see any paint down or anything else, so that’s what we’ve always gone on. They’re saying there’s an issue and I cut the end of the line and my timing beacon didn’t register on their system, so they immediately penalized me with a drive-through. Our data says that same beacon did trip the transponder, the timing beacon. We’re at a loss for what actually happened. Beyond that, I feel none of this has anything to do with qualifying. [The rule] is put in place for racing purposes so a car on pit lane does not come out in front of a car on the racetrack – but there were no other cars in the vicinity. I’m very frustrated with the call and we’re working to understand the discrepancy between our data and [INDYCAR’s].”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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