Ryan Hunter-Reay wins wild IndyCar Series race in Iowa
By Luke Meredith ,AP
June 25, 2012, 12:08 am TWN
NEWTON, Iowa -- Ryan Hunter-Reay passed Scott Dixon with 12 laps to go and held on to win for the second straight week in a wild IndyCar Series race that ended under caution Saturday night.
Hunter-Reay, the winner last week at the Milwaukee Mile, moved to second in the season standings with his seventh career IndyCar victory.
The victory was Andretti Autosport's fourth in six races in Iowa.
"I wish we had some more 1-mile ovals coming up. Those are fun. The racing that we've had on them, it seemed like it was pretty exciting. This is so cool. This is a difference maker for sure," Hunter-Reay said.
Teammate Marco Andretti was second, followed by Tony Kanaan and Dixon. Andretti won last year on the 0.875-mile (1.41-kilometer) oval.
It was only fitting Hunter-Reay would win under caution, because 10 of the 25 cars failed to finish. What was also notable was that Hunter-Reay essentially used the same setup Andretti tested with at Iowa last week to beat his teammate.
Hunter-Reay crossed under yellow as Katherine Legge spun out with two laps left.
"We basically raced the way he tested it. Marco and I raced really hard out there. It's great to have a teammate like that. So happy to be in victory lane twice in a row," Hunter-Reay said.
It seemed as if Hunter-Reay was about the only driver to leave Iowa with a smile on his face.
Pole sitter Dario Franchitti was knocked out after his engine blew before the green flag dropped — a blow that could cripple his shot at a fourth straight series title.
Points leader Will Power retired just 68 laps in after E.J. Viso hit him from behind and saw his series lead dwindle to three points.
James Hinchcliffe, who entered the race second in the points chase, caught the wall and didn't finish either.
A race delayed for 45 minutes by storms and marked by a series of early incidents seemed to finally become clear with 71 laps to go.
Predictably, it didn't last long.
Leader Ryan Briscoe drifted down to the apron in the final corner because he was going in for tires. But in nearly the same spot where Power and Viso got collected, Briscoe was hit by rookie Josef Newgarden.
"He's come from way too far back there. It's too late in the corner to make a pass like that," Briscoe said. "He's a rookie and he'll learn from it. It's a shame because I think on fuel we were in position to win the thing."