6.1.13 – The first of two races from Detroit's scenic Belle Isle is in the books. Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay led the way for Andretti Autosport today and recorded his third top-three finish of the season. Unfortunately, the first round of the doubleheader weekend didn't fare as well for the remaining Andretti Autosport drivers.
Hunter-Reay earned enough points to advance to second in the championship points fight. Today's Dual One in Detroit marked the fifth consecutive race where Hunter-Reay has been a lap leader; he led 20 laps on his way to a second-place finish. "The DHL Chevy was great, but on the middle stint on [Firestone alternate red tires] we just fell out of it. We completely had no grip. I’m not sure if we were just using up the tires too much. Mike [Conway] did a great job. He was flying. We were as quick as him on the black tires, and on those laps few laps — I should say those last 10 laps — of the race we were reeling him in by about two seconds a lap… it just wasn't enough. He has such a big lead from that middle stint. Great job to the (Dale) Coyne guys, and heck a job to Mike coming right back in and winning a race. It's tough. We really wanted to win it for Chevy, but we have another shot at it tomorrow."
GoDaddy driver James Hinchcliffe started today's 70-lap race from the 20th position and ran as high as ninth before recording a 15th-place finish. He will start Dual Two tomorrow from the 10th position. "Up and down day for us, unfortunately," said Hinch. "I think that we actually had a pretty decent car. In the first half of the race we were picking guys off and got up to, I think, just outside the top 10 from 20th. I was trying to get by Graham (Rahal) in Turn 3 and we went side-by-side there, and I had to use a lot of curb and ended up picking up a tire on the inside of the thing there. It caused us an early stop which meant we had to stop again for a splash at the end. It's too bad because the pace was there for a solid top 10 which, after where we started, I would have been happy with. The GoDaddy Chevy just got better and better as the race went on, and hopefully that is a good sign for tomorrow and we can start up in the top 10 now, and take the lessons learned today and just try to keep moving forward."
Rolling off the grid in first, his career-best start, E.J. Viso encountered engine woes straight away. When a full-course yellow caution came out on Lap 25, the Venezuelan came in to pit and the team resolved the issue. Seen as high as 13th following the yellow caution period, the 28-year-old was called in for a drive-thru penalty and became the last car on the lead lap. Fighting his way back, Viso came to the twin checkers in 17th; Viso moves up to 11th in the championship points standings and will start Dual Two in fifth. "Definitely an extremely disappointing result," Viso said post-race. "I feel terrible for everybody involved in my crew and my car. An error on the manufacturer's end diminished the best chance that I had til now of winning a race starting from first. It's extremely frustrating, but at the same time, things like this happen in racing. I have nothing else I can do at this point except to focus on tomorrow's race. Thanks to my crew and everyone at Andretti Autosport for giving me a car fast enough for pole position and getting my first "pole" in IndyCar."
Marco Andretti started today's race from 18th and was nearing the top 10 mid-race. After contact with the No. 83 car on Lap 47, the American entered the pits while the crew worked quickly to replace the left rear tow link and front nose; Andretti rejoined the field three laps down and brought the RC Cola car home in the 20th position. He will roll off 14th for tomorrow's race. "Not the result we hoped for with the race today; we lost some ground in the points race by falling to third. But we're starting a little higher on the grid tomorrow and will keep fighting to get the points back for the RC Chevy," said Marco.
Tune into ABC tomorrow to catch another 70 laps from 'The D' – the field of 25 goes green at 3:50 p.m. with live coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.