Marco Andretti progressed through Round 1 of qualifying to make his first appearance in the top 12 of the season. The No. 98 Kerauno Honda showed a quick time of 1:07.6027, but unfortunately, it was not enough to advance to the Firestone Fast Six. Andretti and the 98 team settled for a seventh-place starting position.
CHASING THE CHECKERS.
Just before the cars made their way out to the grid on Sunday, the rain started to fall, and the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was declared a wet race. Originally scheduled for 90 Laps, the cars rolled off the starting grid as a timed race under yellow flag conditions before the field of 23 took the green flag on Lap 2.
The track was slippery from the start. On Lap 3, Marco Andretti lost traction and spun falling back to the 21st position. The Kerauno team decided to pit, and made way for a new strategy. By Lap 19, the race saw two caution periods for on-track incidents before the first red flag was brought out due to decreased visibility and heavy rain. A brief attempt was made to return to racing, but the final red flag came again on Lap 23 with 00:44:16 on the session clock. The Verizon IndyCar Series postponed the remainder of the race until Monday morning.
The race restarted with clouds of sunshine and Marco Andretti quickly made his way through the field and battled within the top 10. Taking a gamble when the rain began to fall, the No. 98 team decided to stay out on their Firestone Alternate Tires as long as they could, instead of coming in with the rest of the field for a set of Firestone’s rain option in hopes that the rain would come to a halt and they would have an advantage over those who had already switched. Marco Andretti and the team’s decision to come into the pits proved timely, as the rain began to fall harder.
When the time clock ran out and the checkered flag was waved over the abbreviated race, only 82 laps were complete Marco Andretti had earned a top-10 finish.
From here the Verizon IndyCar Series heads back home again to Indiana to begin preparations for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race
“It was a lot of fun out there, but I think finishing 10th is the worst we should’ve finished. I think myself and the guys earned a third-place finish. We beat [James Hinchcliffe] out in the end – so we had third locked up until the rain made all the one-stoppers work. We were looking really good for a podium; the Kerauno team was way better than what the race results showed, but we know we have the pace, so we’ll keep digging and move on to Indy.” – Marco Andretti