Qualifying for double-header events is unique – only holding one round of qualifying with the field split into groups of two. The fastest driver of the session is then awarded the Verizon P1 Award and the remaining drivers in his group fill in the odd-numbered grid spots based on quickest times. The drivers from the second-fastest group take the even-numbered grid positions.
Race 1 qualifying saw Marco Andretti in Group 2 and on the final lap of the session Andretti put together an incredible lap and earned the Verizon P1 award, his first pole position since 2013.
Qualifying for Race 2 saw wet conditions and Firestone’s brand-new rain tires were put to the test for the first time. Andretti made his qualifying attempt in the first group where he earned the 12th starting position.
Chasing the Checkers
After starting from the pole position, Marco Andretti led the first 22 laps of the race before making his first pit stop. Maintaining a two-stop strategy, the third generation driver battled for podium contention the remainder of the race, but ultimately settled for a fourth-place finish.
Although he had a competitive car, Andretti found himself battling traffic and trying to find clean air. The No. 98 team switched to a three-stop strategy in attempt to get the AutoNation / Curb car on an open track. Andretti advanced three positions by the end of the race to collect his 98th top-10 finish.
The Andretti-Herta Autosport driver came into the double header weekend sitting 11th in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship and leaves in eighth.
Leaving Motor City having with good momentum, the Andretti-Herta team looks to build on their championship standings Saturday with 248-laps under the Texas Motor Speedway lights
In His Words
“I guess you gotta be happy right? This AutoNation car was a machine and I really think it deserved a podium today. But, you know, we went backwards and that’s not what we wanted to do. You hate to go backwards. We definitely wanted another trophy, I haven’t had a podium in awhile and that’s been getting to me, let alone the win. We’ll do some homework tonight on how we can improve on the race today and do better tomorrow. We want to get the pole and win tomorrow.”
“The AutoNation car was great this weekend. Unfortunately today, we got caught out in a three-stop strategy and kept getting caught in traffic. The car had the pace, I had the pace, we just couldn’t take advantage of it. We passed a lot of cars today and it was a lot of fun out there, it just wasn’t the result we wanted.”