By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Despite rotten luck at the start of Saturday night’s Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway that had him fighting from behind early, Ryan Hunter-Reay was able to right the ship and bring home an eighth-place finish when the checkered flag flew.
The driver of the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda started the day off with trouble in practice, making contact with the outside wall in Turn 2, but his team was able to get the car repaired in time for qualifying, where he laid down the fourth-fastest time.
However, Hunter-Reay wouldn’t be able to roll off on the outside of Row 2 when the green flag flew for the race as gremlins in the electronics caused issues with the car starting, forcing the team to have to make changes to the car.
As a result of the impound rule in place for Saturday’s race, “Captain America” would have to give up his starting position and serve a drive-through penalty on lap 4, dropping him to the rear of the field.
While he was down, Hunter-Reay was certainly not out as he slowly, but surely worked his way forward as the race progressed, moving back onto the lead lap at the 80 lap mark of the race. He was able to crack the top-15 by lap 116 and entered the top-10 just prior to the final caution on lap 191.
Rolling off ninth when the race went green for the final time with three laps to go, Hunter-Reay was able to pass rookie Oliver Askew to take over eighth-place, where he would remain for the final run to the finish.
Even though he came away with a decent finish at the end of the night, Hunter-Reay noted his frustration with the trials and tribulations he and the team had to go through to get there.
“Incredibly unfortunate events got us at the start of the race,” Hunter-Reay said. “The team did a great job and turned the car around for qualifying. I got in it and drove the wheels off it — up to P4 in qualifying. It ended up being a track position race, which would’ve really benefited us. And unfortunately, we had an issue with the electronics starting up and had to make a change. Because of the impound rule for the event, we got penalized twice.
“I’m not really sure why the cartoon anvil keeps dropping on the 28, but it’s frustrating. Great job by the whole 28 DHL Honda team. We had a good car to represent our partners and our teammates great today, but we were robbed.”