6.8.13 – The green flag flew at Texas Motor Speedway as the sun was setting on what was a beautiful Saturday evening in Fort Worth, TX. The fabulous four drivers of Andretti Autosport all came to the twin checkers in the top 10 with reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay leading the way.
Rolling off the grid in the third position, American Hunter-Reay, who sits third in the championship points fight, finished in second after leading for 35 laps in tonight's 228-lap event. "Man, the drivers had to drive it tonight, and that No. 1 DHL Chevy was great," said Ryan. "We made the most of it and we kinda' lost it there when that yellow (flag) came out, our strategy was such that we needed that yellow not to come and we had a good shot at winning it today thought. It's just… man, after a long day like that we need to down some Sun Drops. That was, I'll tell ya… that was interesting. That was hard to even get by some of the slower traffic. You were just searching everywhere for grip; I had so many catches out there I thought were going into the wall. It's going to be tough to go to sleep tonight."
RC Cola driver Marco Andretti made his seventh top-seven finish of the season tonight when he took the checkered flags from the fifth position. Andretti, who is now second in the points standings, started from the second grid position and led for 57 laps tonight including the first 53 laps of the race. "It's always easier to be the Monday morning quarterback," said Andretti thinking back on what could have been done differently. "I think (pit strategy) worked out for Ryan (Hunter-Reay) – he had a vibration and came in early. He went out, running some quick laps and he didn't catch a yellow. We tried to do the same thing, we caught the yellow and the RC Cola car ended up a lap down. So, it's unfortunate and to top it all off the worst guy in the championship fight against me won, but congrats to him (laughter). We'll move on to IndyFest next week and try to make the points back."
James Hinchcliffe recorded a ninth-place finish in the GoDaddy Chevy, his third top 10 of the season. Hinch started tonight's race from the 12th position. "At the end of the day, I'm pretty pleased with a top 10; it was a tough night. The whole setup with the new tire and downforce configuration made it tough to drive, the GoDaddy guys gave me a good car, but I think we were a little hampered by track position. Clean air was definitely king today, and starting back where we did, we had to fight in the thick of it a lot more. We ended up stopping it a bit early on the first two stops, and we got both those yellows – just really hurt us. We lost a lap and had to earn it back. If we had managed to have the yellows fall at a better time for us, I think maybe we would have been a bit higher. But it's so close, it's so tight, everybody was struggling… we're just happy to bring it home in one piece."
Making his fifth consecutive top-five start, E.J. Viso was seen as high as second during the Firestone 550 from Texas Motor Speedway until he was issued a drive-thru penalty for hitting pit lane equipment during a pit stop. The Venezuelan brought home his No. 5 Chevy to finish 10th. "Tough race. I think I got an unfair penalty… we had everything to finish in the top three," said a discouraged Viso. "I'm not very impressed in how this situation was handled, and I feel they penalize certain people for certain things and not others in certain situations. The penalty happened because I hit one of Ryan (Hunter Reay)'s tires during the pit stop, but I just touched it and he came back out in his original position. For me, they made the wrong call. These decisions can affect the sport as we just saw."
The Andretti crew will head to the historic Milwaukee Mile for the Milwaukee IndyFest next weekend, June 14 and 15. Head out for all of the fun on Father's Day weekend and join us for on-track action, cream puffs, rides and more! If you're joining us from Indy, a special Milwaukee IndyFest Express will depart from Indianapolis Motor Speedway to take you straight to the fun. If you're unable to be with us to experience all the action, be sure to tune in to NBC Sports Network at 3 p.m. Eastern, Saturday, June 15. In the meantime, follow along on Twitter with @FollowAndretti and don't forget to like us on Facebook.