– Yellow flag turned race on its head
– Pace and potential is there
After being 4th quickest in final practice, Max qualified 7th on Saturday, nine positions higher than his IndyCar debut at the same track last year. Speaking after qualifying, Chilton commented:
“I was happy with the Gallagher car and felt I really got everything out of myself. I knew coming into qualifying that we had a fast car for sure. We hit traffic and didn’t get through and that was frustrating obviously. I think we could have been fourth in the second segment and advanced, but that’s the way it goes sometimes, and we can fight with a good car tomorrow which I’m excited about”.
Everything was looking good as the race got underway, however, following a yellow flag period the cars occupying positions 1 through 7 were out of sync with the rest of the field and when it came to pit, found themselves towards to the back of the pack having to fight their way through. Max pushed hard, pulling off some thrilling moves and great overtakes to get back towards the top 10 before having to re-fuel just 5 laps from the chequered flag putting him back in 16th. Many of the cars around him on a different strategy made it to the end of the race without the extra stop to bring to a close a frustrating afternoon that could have delivered so much more.
“It was a frustrating day today with the Gallagher team. We had a good car and we had good pace all weekend. The Honda program seems to be coming along nicely which is encouraging. I think we just need to go back and really look at our race, how it unfolded and see what we can do better on next time. 16th is not where we want to be especially when we had a car that should have qualified in the Fast 6.”
Overall honors went to Bourdais in P1, Pagenaud was P2 and Dixon P3 for Chip Ganassi in the No. 9 GE LED Lighting Honda.
The next race is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 9th at 16:00 Eastern time.