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. Ricciardo’s first podium in ages comes, like Bourdais’ at Toronto, with a trophy drop

    Jul 27, 2015, 4:51 PM EDT

    RIChunpodium Getty Images

    Good news, Ricciardo made the podium. Bad news, his trophy didn’t survive it.

  2. INDYCAR rescinds minor penalty against Jakes issued at Iowa

    Jul 27, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT

    JakesIowa Getty Images

    Jakes kept his visor down after all on a pit stop in Iowa.

  3. Gabby Chaves’ Honda/HPD Midget adventure (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 3:13 PM EDT

    GabbyHeadshot Getty Images

    A quick look back at Chaves’ short track debut.

  4. Fiancee battle: Graham Rahal vs. Courtney Force in a Sonoma skills challenge (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    GRcf Getty Images

    Rahal and Force compete against each other in a series of fun challenges at Sonoma.

  5. For Dixon, it’s likely Mid-Ohio or bust in terms of 2015 IndyCar title hopes

    Jul 27, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio - Day 3 Getty Images

    If another Dixon Mid-Ohio win happens, it will save his championship chances.

  6. After blowing his chance to cut the gap to Hamilton, Rosberg must now avoid the mistakes of last summer

    Jul 27, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg walks down the pits during the third practice session at the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest on July 25, 2015, ahead of the  Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Luke Smith considers the fall-out of a dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix that saw both Mercedes drivers miss an opportunity to seize control of the drivers’ championship.

  7. Booth proud of Manor for honoring Bianchi in Hungary

    Jul 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Manor Marussia F1 team driver Great Britain's Will Stevens has "#JB17" written on his car in tribute to late French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi who died nine months after his crash in the Japan Grand Prix, as he competes during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Manor makes it through a difficult weekend by getting both of its cars to the finish in Hungary.

  8. Race Recap: Vettel draws level with Senna on all-time win list with victory in Hungary

    Jul 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 26:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrates with the trophy after winning the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Vettel storms to his 41st career victory in Hungary as both Mercedes drivers hit trouble.

  9. NHRA Mile-High Nationals winners: Torrence, Beckman, Morgan, Krawiec

    Jul 26, 2015, 11:09 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy NHRA) (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Larry Morgan (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won in Sunday’s NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals.

  10. F1 grid unites to pay tribute to Jules Bianchi (VIDEO)

    Jul 26, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    The F1 grid comes together ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix to pay its respects to Jules Bianchi.

  11. WATCH LIVE: Second of two Red Bull GRC races from Detroit, 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC

    Jul 26, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    GRCDaytona Getty Images

    The Red Bull Global Rallycross doubleheader in Detroit concludes with today’s Round 6.

  12. F1 Paddock Pass: Hungarian GP post-race (VIDEO)

    Jul 26, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    Ferrari caps off an emotional weekend with victory at the Hungaroring as Mercedes came unstuck.

  13. Verstappen “unbelievably happy” with fourth in Hungary

    Jul 26, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    Verstappen claims his first top five finish in F1 in Hungary, capping off an impressive first half-season in the sport.

  14. Alonso charges to fifth in Hungary, sending McLaren into summer break on a high

    Jul 26, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    McLaren Honda's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso competes during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Alonso claims McLaren-Honda first top five finish of the season in Hungary, with Jenson Button also scoring points in P9.

  15. Williams disappointed to leave Hungary without points

    Jul 26, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Technical staff prepare to change the broken wheel of the car of Williams Martini Racing's Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas  in the pit lane during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015. 
 AFP PHOTO / POOL / RONALD ZAK        (Photo credit should read RONALD ZAK/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A penalty for Massa and a puncture for Bottas leaves both Williams drivers outside of the points in Hungary.

  16. Rosberg: “Awful feeling” to lose podium and chance to cut gap to Hamilton in Hungary

    Jul 26, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    At one stage, Rosberg had been poised to take the lead of the championship into the summer break, only to lose yet more ground on Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

  17. Hamilton escapes one of his “worst races” to extend championship lead in Hungary

    Jul 26, 2015, 12:59 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    A poor start, off-track excursion, collision with Ricciardo and drive-through penalty can’t stop Hamilton from finishing sixth and extending his championship lead.

  18. Hamilton among five drivers handed sanctions following Hungarian GP

    Jul 26, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) and Williams Martini Racing's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa compete during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The stewards were kept very busy in Hungary on Sunday.