It was a banner day in Motor City for the “away team” as Honda swept the top six positions in the back yard of their auto giant rival. Occupying two steps on the podium were Andretti drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi. Marco Andretti, who started on the pole position led 22 laps on his way to a fourth-place finish, followed by teammate Zach Veach in 12th.
On a three-stop strategy, Ryan Hunter-Reay worked his way through the field after starting from fifth to eventually lead seven laps. When the checkered flag was waved, Hunter-Reay took the second step of the podium and Alexander Rossi joined him on the third.
“I was doing qualifying laps out there the whole time. It was physical, just trying to qualify every single lap,” said Hunter-Reay. “Then at the end, with the restarts, my rhythm was kind of thrown off. I had trouble getting the tires clean, and kind of let (Scott) Dixon slip away. I thought, the first couple laps after the green came out on the restart, I had something for him, but I just couldn’t keep the mid-corner speed on the far end of the track to keep up with him and get close enough for the pass. Good job by the No. 28 DHL boys today in the pit lane again. They did an awesome job in Indy and again today, just phenomenal. We just came up a bit short today for the win, but we’ll take a podium.”
“It’s great for Andretti Autosport to finish 2-3-4, it’s great for the team,” said 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner, Alexander Rossi. “I think the No. 27 Ruoff Home Mortgage car had the capability to win, but for whatever reason, after pit stops, we just kept coming out behind a slower car and weren’t able to maximize clean air and fresh tire pace. With that being said, when the last restart happened, I knew we didn’t have the pace for the top two, so sometimes you’ve just got to be content with third. It’s great to be back on the podium, it’s great for the team after a very long month of May.”
“I guess you gotta be happy right?” joked third-generation driver, Marco Andretti. “This AutoNation car was a machine and I really think it deserved a podium today. But, you know, we went backwards and that’s not what we wanted to do. You hate to go backwards. We definitely wanted another trophy, I haven’t had a podium in awhile and that’s been getting to me, let alone the win.”
Leaving Motor City having occupied each step of the podium over two races, the Andretti team looks to build on their championship standings Saturday with 248-laps under the Texas Motor Speedway lights.