|Marco Andretti celebrates his first pole of 2013|
Marco Andretti joked that a victory in the Milwaukee IndyFest would be top any Father’s Day card he could present.
His father and team owner agreed.
“I couldn't ask for a better present," Michael Andretti said. “It would be great for him for his championship (chase) to get those points, but also it would be another special family moment at Milwaukee if that were to happen."
Michael Andretti earned five Indy car victories as a driver and has four as a team owner at The Milwaukee Mile. Andretti Sports marketing, an arm of Andretti Autosport, is the promoter of the event this weekend.
“So many special things have happened (at The Milwaukee Mile) with me," he continued. “It's the only all family podium that we had back in 1991 where myself, my dad (Mario) and my cousin (John) on there."
"So far, that was about as good as we could run, so I'm pleased," said Andretti, who earned his first pole in the series at Milwaukee in 2008. "I think the RC Cola car will be tough to beat. A win would be huge. I told Dad that hopefully (the pole) is only half of his Father's Day gift."
|Dale Coyne talks to his drivers Ana Beatriz and Justin Wilson during qualifying as the huge oval crowd looks on.|
Marco Andretti, who is 21 points arrears of front-runner Helio Castroneves in the championship standings, had a good start to the weekend by earning the Verizon P1 Award for the 250-lap race June 15. Driving the No. 25 RC Cola car, he buried the track two-lap qualifying record set in 2012 by Dario Franchitti (168.737 mph average) with an average of 170.515 mph.
Andretti is the sixth different pole winner in nine races. There have been seven different winners representing five teams this season. James Hinchcliffe is the lone two-time winner, and he'll start next to his teammate on the front row — tying his series best in 2012 at Barber Motorsports Park — in the No. 27 GoDaddy.com car. Hinchcliffe recorded the fastest lap of the weekend (170.868 mph) on Lap 1 of qualifying.
Defending race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay (170.100) and E.J. Viso (169.828) — the other two Andretti Autosport drivers — qualified fourth and fifth, respectively. Will Power broke up the Andretti Autosport roll by qualifying third (170.212) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car.
Castroneves, a three-time pole winner at Milwaukee and the race winner at Texas Motor Speedway, tied his season low by qualifying 18th in the No. 3 PPG Team Penske car.
“Wow, that was a tough qualifying – one of the toughest of my career," he said. "The PPG Team Penske Chevrolet has been good all day but I think we got a little greedy there. We took a gamble on the downforce, going really low thinking that that the track would be better and it just wasn’t. The car got sideways a couple of times and I’m just glad the car came in on all four wheels. We have a little of work to do in the race but we’ll be ready and hopefully fight for our first win in Milwaukee."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): "The RC Cola car has been hooked up since we rolled off the trailer, so very pleased with that. Chevrolet has done a great job as well, but I'm even more pleased because I think we have a heck of a race car underneath us too." (What a win would mean at Milwaukee) "It'd be huge. I told Dad that hopefully [the pole] is only half of his Father's Day gift. I mean, it'd be great because [Andretti Sports Marketing] is promoting this thing too."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): ""Don't' tell Marco but the outside is way better on the start. That is what is what I was going for! It was a hell of a team effort, look at that 4 out of the Top 5 guys. Will ruined the Andretti Autosport Parade and everybody on the team deserves such credit after the practice that we had. Man, the third time starting second, I mean like it's always the bridesmaid, never the bride. I mean I won that pole so bad. For where we were especially at practice, the front row, I will take it! "
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): ""We've had a good Verizon car all day. I thought we might have enough for pole today but I made a little mistake on the last lap and we just missed it. Starting third is a good position for us tomorrow. I think the Verizon Chevy will be pretty good in the race. We're not sure what the weather will be – we hope the rain stays away, especially for the fans – but it should be a good race."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): ""We had a great car, and we just got a little carried away with trying to help the car turn – that's what beats a lap time here. We missed the pole by just a little bit last year, so we felt we needed to go get it today. We just over-stepped it today. It's easy to do here at Milwaukee, but we'll have a good No. 1 DHL Chevrolet for tomorrow, I promise you that."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA CITGO Chevrolet): ""Probably the first lap I didn't get the maximum out of the car. I was a little bit cautious… I had a moment in Turn 1 on my out lap. Anyways, I think we have a pretty strong car and I'm really looking forward to this race. I believe we have a pretty good setup that we've been working on and developing. Congratulations to my teammate Marco (Andretti) on his pole position."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): ""Overall, today's been pretty good. We had a pretty good qualifying run and we spent a lot of time focusing on the race car today in practice. It wasn't great but we made a lot of progress with it and I think we're in really good shape heading into tomorrow. I know the guys will do a really great job in the pit lane, both in our strategy and in our pit stops, so we're in a good position to go racing tomorrow."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): ""It felt good out there. We maximized what we could for today and I think we have an even better car for the race tomorrow, and that's when it counts. I'm excited for Saturday. I think we learned a lot about our racecar in practice. We tuned it and made it better from our starting package, which was already good, so we should be really strong for the race."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): ""We hit the hard limiter, which really hurt us in qualifications. The balance was nice in my car. It was awesome in Turns 1 and 2, and then a bit loose in Turns 3 and 4. It was a bit loose overall but good enough for me to stay full-throttle for both qualifying laps. I enjoy this track so much because it honestly drives more like a road course than an oval. It's all about finding the right balance here to have a strong race car. It's good to be up front here because passing is difficult with tire wear. It's a challenge but we set this car up for the race, and it's going to be a manner of having strong in and out laps."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): """The Fuzzy's Vodka car just hasn't been as good as we would like it. We had a little problem in the morning practice and we lost some valuable track time. But we have been chasing the proper setup all day now. Last year, we didn't qualifying well but the car worked pretty well in the race. The track here is always a little tricky here and the race is a tough one. We are going an extra 25 laps this time, so I'm hoping we can repeat our run of last year when we fought up to the top-five before finishing eighth."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 coastal.com Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): " "We had an awesome pace in the first practice session this morning, and then we really struggled this afternoon. We were a bit uncertain of how we would qualify but it was a decent run. I was pretty happy about the car. If someone would have told me we would run that speed before qualifications I don't think I would have believed them." (About tomorrow's race): "It's going to be very difficult to have a car that works well in traffic here. The trick is going to be getting a car that can be quick behind other drivers and run different lines. It's going to be a long race and I still have a lot to learn in the long runs on ovals. I don't set objectives for the race but I'll be focusing on being clean the entire day on-track as well as in pit stops."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "I think if you look through the timing and scoring from the first session in the morning, the car wasn't that bad, it's just that a lot of the other teams ahead of us ran another set of new tires. The second session was a lot better and we moved up into the top three overall which was encouraging for the Target team. In qualifying the car was ok, we just didn't think we'd see such a jump in speeds overall. We missed on the balance a little bit but we might have gained a tenth. It seems like two distinct kind of groups out there…Chevys or Hondas. I think we need to do some work, but the race car is decent. We'll just have to wait and see how we shape up after 250 laps tomorrow."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Kimberly Clark Honda): "I got everything I could get out of the car. But we just haven't been very good overall today with the Huggies car. We've been searching for some front grip, and we found a little too much out there in qualifying unfortunately. It's just a little bit frustrating right now for us."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet): ""We got a little messed up with the qualifying trim this morning, so I really didn't know what I had before my actual qualifying run. We got the most out of the car today. Tomorrow is when it really counts. I also have to say it is nice to see all Chevy's at the front of the grid."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): "This is always a good race. The (handling of the) cars are going to go off a lot. We will start in the back so we just have to make sure we have a good car. I've never made as many big setup changes for qualifying as we did just then but to be honest the Midas / Big O Tires car was absolutely fantastic in Turns 1 and 2 but obviously you could see the understeer in the rest; the front (of the car) just gave up; it wouldn't hold. We won't be doing that pace in the race and I feel pretty good about the race car. After how good it was in Turns 1 and 2 on that first lap I probably overestimated how good it was going to be in Turn 3 and 4. It just didn't want to turn. It heated up between practice sessions today. The car wasn't as slow as the lap time showed; I think we were probably a top-12 car. But I was really struggling with understeer a lot and it wasn't getting any better so we decided to do something pretty big to get some understeer out of it and we changed three or four big things and it worked. I was very pleased with the car in Turns 1 and 2 but we have to find grip off of Turns 3 and 4. I've qualified up front here and faded in the race and I've seen a lot of guys do the opposite. We've just got to hope we're doing the opposite."
JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "I went too aggressive with the tools in the cockpit on the out lap and I nearly crashed on my warm-up lap. Then I came back with the tools and maybe didn't need to but we are starting 12th. It was a perfect lap but good enough for 12th. It's a shame because I think we could have been a little higher up but to save it after the out lap was pretty good. In previous years, after that we would have started in the back so it was nice to kind of save it. The Acorn Stairlifts car was quick last weekend, we just didn't manage to pull of the strategy. Hopefully we can pull off a good finish this weekend. It's a long race tomorrow and strategy will be key."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet): "Wow, that was a tough qualifying – one of the toughest of my career. The PPG Team Penske Chevrolet has been good all day but I think we got a little greedy there. We took a gamble on the downforce, going really low thinking that that the track would be better and it just wasn't. The car got sideways a couple of times and I'm just glad the car came in on all four wheels. We have a little of work to do tomorrow in the race but we'll be ready and hopefully fight for our first win in Milwaukee."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "Qualifying was fine for us, and I was easy flat. When you have new tires, it masks everything and you can be flat no problem. But it's when you're running in traffic I think everybody needs a little more downforce. I think the race will be too spread out and we may not have much racing going on, so I hope they let us put in a little more downforce. But apart from that I'm really happy to be back in the car with Panther and with Chevy, and this is my first time ever with the National Guard, which is so much more than a sponsor. So I'm very honored to be driving their car, so hopefully I can give them a race tomorrow that will make them proud too."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "I am very happy with putting the #6 TrueCar Dragon Racing car up front. It's defiantly a great feeling for all of the guys and a huge boost of motivation. It is very important to qualify up front here in Milwaukee due to the lack in passing opportunities. We really went aggressive on our first qualifying lap and it paid off. I am really looking forward to tomorrow's race."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): We struggled a bit in qualifying. This morning was awesome; the car was really hooked up. Then when we pretty much went out with the same settings and it was really loose. We struggled with over-steer and stuff like that the whole time in the second session. We adjusted to that for qualifying and now we have a little bit too much under-steer. So the changes we made, they worked, but I don't think we're quite there. I think we have to go in between and hopefully during the race it's going to come to us a little more.
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "Milwaukee is always an exciting track, you really drive hard from wall to wall and are absolutely on the limit and that's what happened in qualifying today. We had a reasonably good car in practice and made good progress and was able to clock my personal fastest lap in qualifying in lap one but unfortunately I had a little push on the last corner, got up in the grey and I had to lift off the throttle to save it which cost us a little bit. So where we are is a little bit disappointing but I think we have a good car in traffic. Let's hope we have a strong race tomorrow."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "I am just frustrated because we played it safe because we didn't have time to simulate and trim the car for qualifying. We went back to what we did in the first run today, which wasn't really set up for qualifying, but at least we knew where the balance was. We knew it was going to be super important to start from the front because it is so hard to pass here. It's going to be a long day tomorrow, the conditions are going to be different and with the cooler temperatures I hope it makes it more of a race."
1. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 170.515
2. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 170.418
3. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 170.212
4. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 170.100
5. (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 169.828
6. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 169.732
7. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 169.482
8. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 169.462
9. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 169.311
10. (55) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 169.215
11. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 168.820
12. (16) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 168.470
13. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 168.412
14. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 168.141
15. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 168.023
16. (98) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 167.512
17. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 167.263
18. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 167.169
19. (4) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 165.765
20. (18) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 165.364
21. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 164.797
22. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 164.124
23. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 163.230
24. (78) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 162.886