Hunter-Reay reigns again in IndyCar
Newton, IA (Sports Network) - Ryan Hunter-Reay has established himself as the new king on the short ovals in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
One week after winning at The Milwaukee Mile, Hunter-Reay claimed his second straight victory by taking the checkered flag for Saturday night's Iowa Corn Indy 250 at the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway.
The start of the 250-lap race at Iowa was delayed 40 minutes due to a thunderstorm that moved over the area. Milwaukee also featured a 90-minute rain delay.
Hunter-Reay grabbed the lead from Scott Dixon with 13 laps remaining. On the following lap, Hunter-Reay's teammate, Marco Andretti, passed Dixon for the second position.
The race ended under caution when rookie Katherine Legge crashed into the wall. Andretti, who won this race one year ago, crossed the finish line behind Hunter-Reay to give team owner Michael Andretti a 1-2 finish.
"That was very challenging," Hunter-Reay said. "We were sliding around a little bit more today. I have to thank Marco. They came here and tested. Marco put the setup on this car. When we came here, we tweaked it just a little bit. From there, we basically raced with what he tested with.
"Marco and I raced really hard out there, really clean. It's great to have a teammate like that, and we're just so happy to be in victory lane twice in a row."
Andretti claimed his first podium finish of the season.
"It's definitely a statement that Andretti Autosport is now the one to beat," he said.
Andretti's drivers have won the past four short oval races, with Hunter-Reay claiming three of them. He scored the victory in last year's event at New Hampshire (a track one-mile in length).
Tony Kanaan placed third, while Dixon settled for fourth. Rookie Simon Pagenaud finished fifth after starting last in the 25-car field.
"I didn't think the car was that great all night, and we definitely threw a lot at it this weekend," Dixon said. "I had to push it quite hard. The speeds with the Andretti cars were definitely better."
With the win, Hunter-Reay moved up to second in the championship standings and trails leader Will Power by only three points.
Power finished 23rd after he was involved in an accident with E.J. Viso on lap 69. Power moved down the track and made contact with Viso, causing both drivers to spin around and then slam into the turn two wall.
"(Power) just blocked me, and I couldn't go any lower," said Viso, who finished one spot behind Power in 24th. "I already had my left-front tire inside the apron under the yellow line. He just kept on going lower."
Power took blame for the incident.
"I just lost it," he said. "I feel bad for E.J., because it took him with me.
Dixon is now 15 points out of the lead, while Power's Team Penske teammate, Helio Castroneves, is just 25 markers behind. Castroneves finished sixth, despite leading a race-high 133 laps.
James Hinchcliffe, who is also with Andretti, enter this race second in the point standings, but Hinchcliffe crashed just after a restart with 55 laps to go and ended up finishing 17th. He is 30 points behind Power.
"It's just a kick in the pants this late in the race," he said. "With the string of finishes that we've been having, it really sucks."
Dario Franchitti, the pole sitter, blew an engine prior to the start of the 250-lap race. Just after Alex Tagliani's car stopped on the backstretch during the pace laps, delaying the green flag from being waved, Franchitti had smoke coming out from the back of his Chip Ganassi Racing car. The three-time defending IndyCar champion is now eighth in points (-70).
"It was making a very strange noise," Franchitti said. "I'd actually just come on the radio to say 'Is this thing making an odd noise?' And then it let go. It's very disappointing."
06/24 02:07:25 ET