Rahal, Hunter-Reay Head Honda Qualifying at Sonoma

Rahal, Hunter-Reay Head Honda Qualifying at Sonoma
• Rahal to start fifth in best qualifying result of 2016
• Hunter-Reay posts fifth top-six qualifying run of the season
• Sonoma Raceway weekend wraps up 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season

Honda’s Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay both advanced to the final round of Verizon IndyCar Series “knockout” qualifying Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, with Rahal recording his top qualifying performance of the season to start Sunday’s season-finale fifth.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, fourth-quickest in Friday’s practice sessions, will start sixth, with his Andretti Autosport teammate, Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, qualifying eighth after advancing to the second round. The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda of Mikhail Aleshin also made it to second-round qualifying and will start 11th.

Sunday’s 85-lap Indy car season finale starts at 6:30 p.m. EDT, with live network television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

GRAHAM RAHAL (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “It was a really solid end to the day for the Steak ‘n Shake team. We have had to work very hard to get ourselves into a good [starting] spot. I don’t think any session was smooth for us, but to come out of qualifying as the top Honda is something that makes us very proud. We’re fifth, and have [just] four Penskes ahead of us. My guys have worked very hard; we’re the little team that can. Tomorrow, hopefully, we can get a victory. It would mean a lot to end the season strong. Obviously we’ve got championship contenders in front of us, and we’ve got to be smart about what we’re doing tomorrow. But we’re here to win. I’m not going to sit around and wait for someone else to do it. We just have to have a good, solid race.”