Skip to content

After high hopes, Andretti armada struggles

Jul 7, 2013, 3:33 PM EDT

James Hinchcliffe AP

With Marco Andretti on the pole and teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe alongside him on the front row, the stage was seemingly set for Andretti Autosport to continue its strong 2013 campaign.

Instead, the Pocono IndyCar 400 saw the defending IZOD IndyCar Series champions go through a rough afternoon on the “Tricky Triangle” while fellow “Big Three” team Chip Ganassi Racing took over the podium.

The problems started from the get-go when Hinchcliffe lost control of his No. 27 GoDaddy machine and slammed into the Turn 1 wall just moments after the green flag. The Canadian driver, who will surely be the favorite of the crowd next weekend in his hometown of Toronto, has won three times this season (St. Petersburg, Sao Paulo, Iowa) but with his crash at Pocono, he now has three DNFs as well (Barber, Long Beach).

Ryan Hunter-Reay then suffered a bizarre accident as he was hit from behind by Takuma Sato while entering pit road on Lap 61. The Japanese driver was trying to slow down as he made his way to the pits but locked up his tires and instead hit the back of Hunter-Reay’s No. 1 car.

“I couldn’t believe it,” an exasperated Hunter-Reay said after the race to ESPN. “I couldn’t expect that it would be Sato coming so far back. We had a great car to start with but we had just a little too much understeer so we were going to keep adding front wing as we went.

“I think we had a great car to challenge for the win and was really looking forward to the rest of the race, and then we’re just coming to pit lane minding our own business and we get creamed from behind. [Sato] was nowhere near slowing the car down – just unplugged his brain entirely and he’s playing a role in the championship again.”

Indeed, Hunter-Reay, who returned to the track later on and finished 20th, lost ground to leader Helio Castroneves in the standings and now sits 23 points behind the Brazilian as the series heads north to Canada.

But perhaps most heartbreaking for the Andretti camp was the late-race fade of Marco Andretti, who led the most laps on Sunday but finished 10th after being victimized by poor fuel mileage.

When asked by ESPN whether there was any point in the race where he didn’t feel like he had the car to beat, a dejected Andretti replied in the negative.

“I was just having to sit there and watch the lead go away from me,” the third-generation driver said. “It was ripping my guts out.”

E.J. Viso, who crashed during qualifying on Saturday, was never a factor on Sunday, finishing 21st after being forced out of the race momentarily due to mechanical problems on his No. 5 CITGO-backed car.

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR team owner Jack Roush talks possible Cup engine changes

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT

    Zippo 200 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Significant modifications to the Cup cars’ powerplants are likely to come within the next two seasons.

  2. James Hinchcliffe says he’s good with Ryan Hunter-Reay after Long Beach crash

    Apr 18, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    The two Andretti Autosport drivers appear to have put Sunday’s wreck behind them.

  3. Sometimes, NASCAR media centers become comedy clubs (VIDEO)

    Apr 18, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Matt Kenseth AP

    You can’t say these drivers don’t have a sense of humor.

  4. Formula E’s first two track layouts now revealed

    Apr 18, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    GERMANY-AUTOMOBILE-ECONOMY-FAIR-IAA Getty Images

    The second round of the championship in Putrajaya, Malaysia will see drivers contest a short, 1.6-mile street circuit.

  5. Transition back to IndyCar “still hard” for Juan Pablo Montoya

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Montoya Getty Images

    Two races into his return to open-wheel, the former Indy 500 winner says he’s having a tough time with re-learning tracks.

  6. It’s early yet, but keep these qualifying stats in mind for future IndyCar street races

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Long-Beach-Lead Getty Images

    Here’s a look at the grid based on average qualifying positions through 2 races in 2014.

  7. IndyCar drivers mimic their cars, and it’s rather humorous (VIDEO)

    Apr 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Dixon Getty Images

    IndyCar drivers do their best “hey, this is what this sounds like!” imitations.

  8. Porsche, Audi lead Friday practice in WEC opener at Silverstone

    Apr 18, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT

    Lucas Di Grassi, Loic Duval, Tom Kristensen AP

    Two practice sessions begin a new year for the WEC.

  9. F1 engine technology could hinder efforts to improve sound

    Apr 18, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Making the V6s louder might not be such an easy fix.

  10. Vettel suspects Mercedes of sandbagging during practice

    Apr 18, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Sebastian Vettel AP

    German driver not yet happy with his own performance in China, but his long run pace suggests that a podium finish may be within his reach.

  11. Maldonado brushes off crash and spin in practice

    Apr 18, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Rookie errors from Lotus driver no big deal, apparently.

  12. Mattiacci determined to turn around Ferrari’s failing season

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Marco Mattiacci AP

    Mattiacci thought that job offer was a late April Fools joke at first; says that necessary changes will take place.

  13. Alonso keen on dry qualifying in China

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Spanish driver puts in an impressive display during practice, but warns that rain could scupper Ferrari’s chances of reaching the podium.

  14. New regulations crucial in Honda’s decision to return to F1

    Apr 18, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT

    Yasuhisa Arai, Senior Managing Officer and Director, Chief Officer of Motorsports, Honda R&D Co. poses at the Honda Motor Co's headquarters in Tokyo Reuters

    Yasuhia Arai reveals some more information about Honda’s decision to return to F1 and the Japanese marque’s plans for the future.

  15. Difficult day in Hamilton’s eyes despite finishing fastest

    Apr 18, 2014, 6:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Hamilton keen on the team correcting handling issues before qualifying tomorrow.

  16. Hamilton recovers in FP2 to edge out Alonso and Rosberg

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:32 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Mercedes returns to the top of the timesheets, but Ferrari and Alonso are in close company.

  17. WATCH LIVE: Alonso looks to double up in Shanghai

    Apr 18, 2014, 1:45 AM EDT

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Can Mercedes fight back and resume normal service?

  18. Alonso fastest in first practice for Chinese GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:32 PM EDT

    Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain arrives for a news conference ahead of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit Reuters

    Spanish driver ends Mercedes streak of first place finishes, but teammate Kimi Raikkonen fails to post a time.

  19. NASCAR AMERICA: Can Gene Haas succeed with an American-based F1 team?

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:58 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the expectations for Gene Haas as he looks to start a F1 team. The pair question whether an F1 team can be run successfully out of the United States.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

The new faces of NASCAR

Featured video

Paddock Pass: Inside the Chinese GP
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. McMurray (16669)
  2. K. Harvick (5723)
  3. M. McDowell (2930)
  4. C. Edwards (1537)
  5. A. Seuss (1512)
  1. K. Busch (1180)
  2. T. Bayne (1112)
  3. B. Myers (1067)
  4. L. Fleming (1024)
  5. J. Myers (1003)