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Trackside Update: Qualifying in Texas

6.7.13 –  Greetings from Texas Motor Speedway where the IZOD IndyCar Series had a full day of track activity at the "Wild Asphalt Circus" in Fort Worth. The day started and ended with full practices for the field of 24 with qualifying taking place between the two practice sessions.

RC Cola driver Marco Andretti posted the top speed in today's morning practice and led the qualifying effort for Andretti Autosport. He will start tomorrow's 228-lap race from the second position. This is Marco's best qualifying result so far in the 2013 season. The third-generation racer is currently leading the points race (tied with Helio Castroneves) after posting six top-seven finishes in seven events. "The RC Cola car was pretty good," said Marco. "I'm happy with our front row (start). Good job by the guys because our focus wasn't even on qualifying. I'm pleased just like I was at Indy because it was the same focus at Indy. The first lap, I think we had an overboost, so we lost a mile-per-hour, which I was hoping it wasn't going to cost me more than it did. Will (Power) went for it, and he got benefited for it so good job to him. Glad to represent Dr Pepper and RC Cola here in their hometown with front row start."

Posting a speed that just barely missed the front row was reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. The American will start from the third position for tomorrow's Firestone 550. "At Texas (Motor Speedway) qualifying doesn't mean a whole lot, but it will help us out to start up front." explained Ryan. "The guys did a great job getting the car ready for qualifying after the cut tire — we had to end the (first) session about half-way through. We need to get some major work done tonight, as a team we need to really develop the race car. With as little grip as we have around this place, I think it's going to be — it's anybody's race. It will be interesting to see what we have tonight (in practice), we're really going to have to work and make the Andretti Autosport cars better. But, overall, happy with the No. 1 DHL Chevy and looking to represent well for our hometown sponsors Dr Pepper Snapple and Sun Drop this weekend."

The IZOD IndyCar Series driver with the most consecutive top-five starts this season, E.J. Viso, will begin tomorrow’s evening race from the fifth position, his fifth top-five start (Brazil P2, Indy P4, Belle Isle P1 and P5). The Caracas, Venezuela native’s best finish at the 1.5-mile oval is seventh in 2011. "Back in Texas! Qualifying fifth, I definitely think it's a good position to start this race. For tomorrow we are expecting a lot of action. With the new downforce levels regulated by IndyCar, it's definitely going to be a very interesting race. There's very little grip… as always, the weather being very hot here makes it tough for everyone. Anyways, I believe we have a good combination of factors in our team that are going to make us fast and stay in the leader pack."
GoDaddy driver and fan favorite James Hinchcliffe will start from the 13th position tomorrow for his fourth career start at Texas Motor Speedway. The Mayor of Hinchtown currently sits ninth in the championship points standings. "It's (this year) obviously not gone totally the way we wanted," said Hinch. "Our good days have been good, our bad days have been bad. I think we kind of just need to find that sort of middle ground a little bit better on days when we don't have a car to win. A lot of it's been out of our control, some bad luck… we've been competitive, just haven't been able to get all the results we wanted with the GoDaddy car. Hopefully we can turn that around here in Texas." Hinch finished the evening practice session second on the speed charts and third overall for the day.
You can catch all the action from Texas Motor Speedway by tuning into ABC. Live coverage will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. If you can't make it to the television, listen along with the broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, on SiriusXM (Channel 211) and Follow along on Twitter at @FollowAndretti, or by using hashtag #Firestone550.

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