7.6.13 – It's great to be back at the "Tricky Triangle" after 20 years without IndyCar. A few things we've learned so far: Pocono Raceway has enough solar panels that will produce more than 72 million kilowatt hours of energy over the next 20 years, they have a restroom with 1,000 toilets named "Long John" and their mascot is a fox called Tricky.
Your Andretti Autosport squads continued their momentum with a 1-2-3 sweep during qualifying for the Pocono INDYCAR 400. Team Venezuela driver E.J. Viso was set to complete the top four when he was seen in P4 during qualifying prior to making contact in Turn 1. The 1988 Indianapolis 500 was the last time a team swept a three-car front row in an Indy car event. Completing the day with their seventh round of competition this year, Carlos Munoz and Zach Veach brought home a win and top-five finish for the Firestone Indy Lights crews.
RC Cola driver Marco Andretti captured his fourth career pole today. Marco showed he means business in his hometown when he obliterated the track record (211.715 mph set by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989), with a two-lap average speed of 221.273 mph. Tomorrow will mark the 125th career start for Marco. "It's just an unbelievable team performance across the board. E.J. (Viso) would have been right there with us, so I feel for him as well. But definitely happy for the RC Cola guys and Andretti Autosport as a whole. We've been making statement after statement so it's a good feeling.
ESPY's "Best Driver" nominee Ryan Hunter-Reay (vote now at ESPYS.com
) will start from the second position tomorrow for the Pocono INDYCAR 400. The reigning series champion is only nine points out of the lead in defense of his 2012 title. "It was a great one for Andretti Autosport. It's 400 miles. We got quailing out of the way. It's going to be a long race. We have to go against Penske, Ganassi and, of course, a big challenge from teammates. After that we got going, we get to racing."
Canadian native James Hinchcliffe will start from the outside of the front row for tomorrow's 400-mile race at Pocono Raceway. Hinchcliffe's qualifying effort in the GoDaddy Chevy posted a two-lap average of 220.431 mph. "The GoDaddy car ran pretty well. We haven't been this strongest in practice and Marco (Andretti) has been the class of the field — we knew it would be tough to beat that, so we just wanted to try to stay in contention. We got some useful tips from him after his run, just teammates working together. I had a little bit of a moment in Turn 1 — it got a little loose on me battling at either end of the race track; the wind conditions running this light on downforce doesn't help. But, solid performance."
Recording a lap to put him in P4 behind his three Andretti Autosport teammates, E.J. Viso got loose going into Turn 1 during his second qualifying lap and made contact with the wall.The IZOD IndyCar Series veteran was checked by the medical team and has been cleared to compete in tomorrow's Pocono INDYCAR 400. "I was heading into my second qualifying lap, and I just lost it in the middle of Turn 1 to the point I caught it for a second. I stepped out again and couldn't do much. It (Pocono Raceway) is much trickier than we anticipated. The testing we had here a few weeks ago, and again two days ago, it really helped us. This accident is really unfortunate as I believed we could have been 1-2-3-4."
We continued our dominating day in the Poconos with the Firestone Indy Lights one-day show. The IndyCar feeder series took to the Tricky Triangle for practice, qualifying and a 100-mile race today. Carlos Munoz captured his fifth pole of the season and went on to lead each of the 40 laps on his way to a fifth career Indy Lights victory. Carlos said, "My team, my engineers, my mechanics, everyone did an amazing job giving me this great car. I was flat out the whole way and it's really nice to be back in victory circle after our weekend in Iowa. I was really motivated to come here and race on this oval. Looking forward to continue our momentum in Toronto."
FIL teammate Zach Veach made his first Pocono start from the sixth position and brought home the K12 car in fourth. Up until the race it'd been a really tough weekend for all of us on the K12 car. "We really struggled with the balance of it and just couldn't find the right groove," said Zach. "Then, finally in the race starting sixth I think we made some right decisions on the car – that was the best car I've had all weekend. We got a solid fourth (place finish); I think we could have contended for the top three. Once you lose that top pack in the draft at a place like this you can't really get them until a yellow (flag) comes out. I want to thank everyone at K12 and Andretti Autosport for working so hard. It's a good finish for us – a top five is always nice and we'll carry this momentum into Toronto."
You can catch the action from Pocono by tuning into ABC. Coverage will begin on Sunday starting at 12 p.m. ET. If you can't make it to the television, listen along with the broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, on SiriusXM (Channel 211) and www.IndyCar.com.
Be sure to follow the official Andretti Autosport Twitter feed (@FollowAndretti) for live twitter coverage and a behind-the-scenes look at race day from the Pocono INDYCAR 400.