Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda, was a strong favorite to win this weekend at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as he’s run well at the track in the past. He has had a few podium positions and a few top-10’s in his previous races at the track. However, this weekend things took a turn for the worse, and Hunter-Reay hit a bit of a rough spot.
In the second practice on Friday, RHR developed a brake issue. The team worked on the car, and thought they had it fixed as he advanced to the second session in qualifications from his group. Although, the brake problems were not fixed, and during the warm up prior to the race on Sunday morning, his brake pedal stuck to the floor of his car and he ended up putting it into the wall.
His crew worked on the car to get it ready for the race and the first two times he pitted, they worked on the car more. It paid off and he was able to charge to the front looking to finish in the fifth position, however on the last lap he had one push to pass left and was able to overtake and move pass his teammate Takumo Sato to finish fourth.
“It was a wild weekend,” Hunter-Reay said. “From the ups and downs of braking issues in second practice and then warmup this morning, we definitely earned this one.
“We fixed engine calibration issues early on, got out in front of the pace car by about a second or two keeping us on the lead lap. To finish today fourth was just awesome. This No. 28 DHL Honda team has done a great job all day. To fight back like that, I had to keep coming spot after spot really earning it, then there at the end I got that spot back from my teammate Sato. We had a lot of fun out there driving every last drop out of the car, and it’s great to be back in the role and into the swing of things. Hopefully we can get the DHL Honda team back on the podium where we belong, but a fourth-place finish is a good start. This whole team has done a great job; Andretti Autosport has been working hard. We had some great pace, showed good promise and I’m looking forward to the next race.”