INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A frustrating first week at Indianapolis has Michael Andretti’s drivers eager to change course.
That’s still no guarantee they’ll solve their problems.
After struggling to find speed for three consecutive days on Indy’s 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course, Andretti Autosport was shut out of the top 10 on Saturday in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
“We just don’t have the pace on the road course and we’re lacking sufficient downforce at the moment,” defending Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay said after finishing 11th. “I’m so ready to be done with the road course right now. I’m very excited to be back on an oval.”
That will happen Monday when practice begins for the May 24th Indianapolis 500.
Andretti’s other three drivers — Colombian Carlos Munoz, American Marco Andretti and England’s Justin Wilson — finished 13th, 16th and 24th. Wilson, making his first start of the season, was the best qualifier at No. 18 but a gearbox issue forced him out of the race after 68 laps.
“The road course has been a bit of a struggle,” Wilson said. “We’re just going to have to keep digging, see what else we can find and just keep working on it.”
It’s a familiar refrain for the Andretti family. Mario Andretti won his only 500 in 1969 and spent the rest of his career dealing with bad luck. Michael, Mario’s son, has led more laps at Indy than any other non-winner in track history. And Marco, Michael’s son, was the runner-up in 2006 — the second-closest finish in 500 history.
But this month has been very different for a team coming off a win last May in Indy.
“It’s been a really hard season so far for us as a team,” Munoz said. “We have to work hard for the next road course, but now we have to concentrate 100 percent for the big goal and that is the 500. Hopefully we can have a really competitive car.”
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