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Trackside Update: Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

It was another action-packed day of racing here at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as our IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights teams both qualified for their races tomorrow, while the Pro Mazda and USF2000 teams saw race activity.
In IndyCar news, Ryan Hunter-Reay captured his fifth career pole, and third of the season, when he came within striking distance of the Mid-Ohio track record. The American missed the record shared by Dario Franchitti and Gil de Ferran by two-hundredth of a second. "I’ve finished on podium here a bunch," said RHR, "started on the front row before but never had the chance to win this race, I’ve never won this race. We need to bring it home, for the championship too. It’s going to be a long, hard race tomorrow going up against the Ganassi, Penske boys and my teammates as well."

RC Cola driver Marco Andretti made his first 2013 appearance in the Firestone Fast Six and will start from the fourth grid position for tomorrow's Indy 200. "I think even though it’s my first (Firestone) Fast Six I think we had more potential in the 25 car," Marco said. "A little disappointed because obviously we need to beat Ryan (Hunter-Reay) in the championship as well, and he earned another point, but we need to learn off it, figure out where he beat me and come back from it tomorrow. Tomorrow is what pays off big in points."

Rolling off from the 12th grid position tomorrow will be E.J. Viso. Although missing the Firestone Fast Six, E.J. showed promising speed behind the wheel of the No. 5 Chevy and finished the morning practice in the third position. "I qualified 12th – not too happy with that qualifying position," E.J. said. "I think we had a little bit more speed in the car. We couldn’t finish our qualifying lap as we had traffic twice from (Tristan) Vautier. Starting in this position is definitely going to be a tough job tomorrow in the race, but I have a lot of faith that in the direction we are working in; we are going to find a good set up and a good strategy to bring a good race result tomorrow."

Fan favorite James Hinchcliffe will make his third Mid-Ohio start from the 13th position behind the wheel of the GoDaddy machine. The Mayor said: "It was only about a tenth (of a second) we missed it by and we had that on two different laps; the car had that and I made little mistakes. It’s the nature of the business with this qualifying format, you only get a couple laps to have a crack at it. We went out early and did an extra lap, but like I said, twice we had a car good enough to advance and just didn’t get it done. I feel bad for the guys, the GoDaddy Chevy is quicker than that. It’s a shame."

Firestone Indy Lights drivers Carlos Munoz and Zach Veach spent the afternoon qualifying for tomorrow's Mid-Ohio 100. Both Munoz and Veach showed speed rotating through the leader board, but came up just short in the end; the duo will start fourth and fifth, respectively.

Matthew Brabham captured his eighth Pro Mazda win of the year today, tying the series record for most wins in one season. Starstruck driver Shelby Blackstock joined his teammate on the podium, recording a second-place finish – his seventh podium of the season. Matty and Shelby will start first and third, respectively, for Race Two tomorrow.

The Andretti USF2000 trio completed two races of the this weekend's tripleheader schedule today. In Race One, Garett Grist was shown strong running second when a mechanical failure dropped him from competition. Grist started Race Two from the second position due to his fast lap time set early in Race One; he finished the second race in fourth and will start from the pole tomorrow. Andretti Autosport rookie Luca Forgeois started Race One 11th and recorded an eighth-place finish. In Race Two, Luca started 11th and fell to the 28th position after a spin on track. Nightrain driver Austin Cindric rolled off from the 15th position for Race One and recorded his best career finish of 12th. For the second race of the day, Austin started 16th and improved one spot to take the checkers in 15th.

 
You can catch all the action from Ohio by tuning into NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640). Coverage will begin on Sunday with the Firestone Indy Lights race starting at 2 p.m. ET followed by live IZOD IndyCar Series action at 3 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 Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

 

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