AUTOSPORT – Ryan Hunter-Reay took his second IndyCar win in as many weeks with victory in a bizarre race at Iowa on Saturday night.
The Andretti Autosport driver passed Ganassi’s Scott Dixon for the lead with just 14 laps to go, and faced the prospect of a battle to the finish with team-mate Marco Andretti before Dragon Racing’s Katherine Legge spun and brought out a caution with four laps to go, leaving the race to finish under yellows.
“That was very challenging,” said Hunter-Reay. “We were sliding around a little bit more today.
“I have to thank Marco. They came here and tested. Marco put the set-up on the car, and when we came here, we tweaked it just a little. From there, we basically raced with what he tested with. It’s great to have a team-mate like that and we’re just so happy to be in Victory Lane twice in a row.”
Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology) also managed to pass a fading Dixon late in the race to claim the final spot on the podium. Dixon held on for fourth ahead of Schmidt Hamilton’s Simon Pagenaud, who did a superb job to climb through the field from the back of the grid.
Thunderstorms before the start forced a one-hour delay while the track was dried out, and the green flag had not even waved before the race threw its first curveball of the evening when polesitter Dario Franchitti (Ganassi) pulled off the track with a blown engine during a warm-up lap.
Franchitti’s misfortune set the tone for an evening of high attrition, which was reflected in the six caution periods that punctuated the race. Eleven cars failed to make it to the finish including championship leader Will Power, who turned in on an unsighted EJ Viso (KV) and put both himself and the Venezuelan into the wall.
Power’s Penske team-mate Ryan Briscoe was another casualty later on when he fell victim to a challenge from Sarah Fisher Hartman’s Josef Newgarden while leading. The consequent impact spelled the end of the race for both drivers.
Other significant retirements including championship contender James Hinchcliffe, who was caught out by a combination of cold tyres and dirty air and spun his Andretti Dallara-Chevrolet into the barriers.
Results - 250 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti DW12-Chevy 1h43m39.3031s 2. Marco Andretti Andretti DW12-Chevy + 0.1103s 3. Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevy + 2.7245s 4. Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda + 3.0075s 5. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt DW12-Honda + 3.8468s 6. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevy + 5.3061s 7. Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevy + 5.9890s 8. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevy + 6.9856s 9. Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda + 7.1607s 10. Justin Wilson Coyne DW12-Honda + 1 lap 11. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda + 2 laps 12. Takuma Sato Rahal DW12-Honda + 3 laps 13. James Jakes Coyne DW12-Honda + 5 laps 14. Simona de Silvestro HVM DW12-Lotus + 6 laps