Ryan Hunter-Reay remained baffled by his Vision Racing car's lack of speed as he only managed to secure 30th place on the Indianapolis 500 grid on Saturday. The American was the top Indy rookie in last year's event, taking sixth place for Rahal Letterman Racing, but he has been off the pace throughout the month this time.
"I just don't have any answers anymore," said Hunter-Reay. "These guys work hard, and the car is super-slow. I feel bad for them in that way.
"We're trimming to levels where we should be another two miles an hour quicker, and we're not. I don't know -- I appreciate this opportunity; we just need to get a handle on things pretty quick."
His teammate Ed Carpenter, who has fared better and comfortably qualified last Sunday, tried Hunter-Reay's car in practice earlier this week, but to no avail as he too found the machine's lack of speed perplexing.
Hunter-Reay admitted that he was finding his current plight hard to take.
"It's tough for me," he said. "I know how it should be for us, and it's not, so it's tough. This is it for me. This is my life, and when it's not going right, it's hard."
He added that his car had no particular bad traits, but was simply lacking in pace -- and he is not optimistic that the situation will change in time for race day.
"I was flat out," said Hunter-Reay after qualifying. "The car felt good, unfortunately, cause we're slow. I don't know what's going on. These guys work really hard, and the speed is just not coming out of the car.
"It's down to something in the car, mechanically or aerodynamically, I don't know. That part is a little over my head, and the team is a bunch of very qualified professionals, so they're working on getting some answers sorted out. But in the time frame that we're working within, I don't know if we can solve that."