By Josh Farmer, Contributing Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas – Ryan Hunter-Reay just didn’t have quite enough to better himself in Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 at the Texas Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda finished fifth in the 248-lap event after starting in 10th place, but was hungry for more following a win in last weekend’s Detroit Grand Prix.
“It’s a good consistent finish,” he said. “It was solid. Nothing better than that. Decent points but we’ve got to be better than that for sure.”
The 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion steadily worked his way up the field in the opening stints of the race. He see-sawed throughout the bottom half of the top 10 over the 160-lap green flag run as he looked after his tires and fuel.
While managing tires and the fuel was premium for everyone, the 37-year-old from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, noted that the conservative pace was a little hard to get around.
“I had my hands full managing fuel for a long time,” he said. “I’ve got to get the story from my guys because it felt like we were saving fuel more than anyone else out there.”
In spite of the conservative pace, Hunter-Reay picked off cars and cracked the top five for the first time on lap 173 just as Robert Wickens and Ed Carpenter crashed.
A long green flag run didn’t come as Will Power and Zachary Claman De Melo crashed a few laps later He restarted behind Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe.
Rossi and Hinchcliffe broke away on the restart while Hunter-Reay could not match their pace and he took the checkered flag in fifth place.
The 2014 winner of the Indianapolis 500 noted that he struggled with a loose racecar which prevented him from challenging for the win.
“We just couldn’t get up there in the mix at the end,” he said. “I had too much understeer and couldn’t get close to join the party. It looks like they were having some fun, we just couldn’t get in there. We just missed it a bit. We brought it home what we could.”
The run moves Hunter-Reay to fourth in the championship with eight races remaining, 49 points behind race winner Scott Dixon. Hunter-Reay is focused on chipping away at every point that he can get and improve every weekend.
“We’ll take the top five for the DHL team,” he added. “We gained a little in points and that’s what we’re really keeping our eyes on.”