IndyCar championship contender Ryan Hunter-Reay says he is not worried about starting from the rear end of the grid at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday night.
The Andretti driver only managed the 17th-fastest time during Friday's qualifying session and also faces a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change. This is likely to leave him on the second-last row once penalties to other drivers have been taken into account.
Hunter-Reay said that while starting toward the front was obviously preferable, the length of the race allows plenty of opportunity to work through the pack.
"We didn't concentrate at all on qualifying," he said. "We went out there kind of not knowing what we had.
"I was the first of the team's cars, and had a massive imbalance that they learned from. That's the downside to going first. It's a 500-mile race. At the same time, you don't want to be buried in traffic."
Will Power leads Hunter-Reay by 17 points with 53 available in the championship decider.