Hunter-Reay steals one in Iowa
Ryan Hunter-Reay won this evening’s Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB. With a late race call to take tires on the #28 DHL Honda after during a caution period, Hunter-Reay charged from 10th place on a restart with 6 laps to go to the lead with two laps remaining and win by 0.5814sec. in his Honda
In fact this is Andretti Autosport’s sixth win at Iowa Speedway. The team has won the last five races here at Iowa with Tony Kanaan (2010), Marco Andretti (2011), Hunter-Reay (2012 and 2014) and James Hinchcliffe last year.
His team owner Michael Andretti said, "We stole it today but I’ll take it any way we can get it. What’s really weird is that we talked about it before the race – with 15 laps to go and a yellow comes out what are we going to do. When we talked about it we said we should think about pitting. Then when it came time to do it I was like, 'Screw it.'
"What were we going to do, lose three spots? And I knew if we came in a lot would come in behind us – and you saw what happened. We've lost many that way and to keep the record going here at Iowa – we love coming to Iowa it's such an awesome racetrack and we’ve got such great luck here. It was a day we probably we’re supposed to win but, like I said, we’ll take it any way we can get it."
Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Helio Castroneves finished 8th.
The race was red-flagged after 39 laps because of moisture on the racetrack and resumed after a 26-minute delay. The last red flag because of rain was at Sao Paulo in 2011.
Takuma Sato and Mikhail Aleshin knocked each other out of contention for the second time in three weeks on Saturday night in Iowa.
It resulted in AJ Foyt making a fool of himself on national TV again.
Sato and Aleshin got tangled up in a race in Houston on June 28, robbing the contending Sato of a shot at his best finish of the year. Foyt appeared to refer to both of them as "idiots" on TV following the wreck but replay shows Aleshin simply lost the back end and Sato was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on July 19-20 on the streets of Toronto’s Exhibition Place. The races will be telecast live at 3 p.m. (ET) by NBCSN on both days.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "Man, that was crazy. We took the tires. It's a big gamble and my tires were shot before that. We took them and credit to Ray Gosselin and Michael Andretti for making that call because I didn't think we'd have enough time. The safety crew did an excellent job getting that cleaned up so that we can go racing in the end so that was really great. Man that was fun. It was like a video game at the end. It was just shredding though it. The DHL 28 Honda was just on fire at the end. It was really, really good. The thing was on rails at the end and I knew we had no shot where we were before on the older tires so man we went for it. We had such a tough day. We had a tough day in the pits. It's been a tough day on track. Things were just not going right. That's why you've just got to keep your head in it and be ready for whatever comes in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Just a great day, you know. Congratulations to Honda. I had the power where I needed it there at the end. The new Firestones were just unreal. I hope I can do that again sometime. That was fun where everybody's on old tires and I'm on new. That was amazing."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "That was a tough night for us, we were really struggling early on and managed to get it better after a couple of pit stops. At the end, I was wanting tires but I understood the team's strategy. I was really just trying to hang on there at the end. The tires were on about 60 laps at that point. I knew we were going to be struggling but I was hoping I would be able to hang on for a little bit. In the end we ended up in the same spot as when the caution came out. We survived, not as quick as I would have liked but we survived it and now we move on to Toronto now."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): "Sneaky little buggers they are. I couldn't believe it. Good strategy and credit obviously to Andretti and (Ryan) Hunter-Reay taking the win there. Our Chevy Target cars were fantastic tonight. I just couldn't believe TK (Tony Kanaan) ran a hell of a race. He must have led 250 laps or something. We had to work on our car a lot. We just gave them a race there for a little while, led some laps, but I burnt the front tires off my car. Credit to the team, but we just came short there by a couple of spots. Hopefully we will come back at Toronto and get some victories."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): "I think, from where we started, it's obviously a good improvement (14th to sixth). We were really chasing the balance in the middle part of the race; we were making a lot of changes. Sometimes we overshot it, sometimes we undershot it. At the end there, that last run, I think we had a really strong car. If that last caution hadn't have come out… we were running top Honda and catching a couple of the guys in front of us. I think we had a solid top-five finish in the cards, which from where we started, would have been great. But, that caution came, and those guys that did tires obviously made the right call. We'll take it – it was a strong race in the end even when we weren't running well, we fought back, worked on the car, and that's what this United Fiber & Data crew is so good at. Not the best day, but not a bad day at all."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): "It was a really long night for us. The car just wasn't there, I don't really know what happened. Also, I don't think I was 100% myself. We finished in the 12th position – it's a really bad night, bad race for us. Now I'm just focusing ahead on Toronto."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "That was the weirdest experience I've had in a race. It's almost unfair. You put on tires like that and you just have so much more grip than everybody. It was a great call. And I knew it was going to be an interesting race because Graham and Ryan (Hunter-Reay) had done it in front of me and I thought ‘if this is going to play out, it will be between us.' And Ryan got a good jump and I got a good jump with and we kept carving up to the top and I knew the laps were clicking down and with about five to go, I realized ‘OK, this is going to get really good.' Just not enough time to get Ryan. I think it's really cool finishing on the podium. Obviously it's a great job for our whole team, especially after qualifying, we made a bit of an error there. We just did an amazing job tonight. Our team was solid. We had such good pit stops, really good strategy and kept our head in the game the entire way. We didn't have the best balance all race long, but there were parts when we were really fast. We just kept with it and at the end there, we made it when it counted." (About his bad luck this season)"Well, there's nothing I can say that happened that was bad luck tonight. We were catching all the breaks we could. We could have been a little better on balance. We could've been higher up in qualifying, but there's nothing that happened that was out of our control really. It was great to have a run that was representative to our pace. We were definitely a Top 10 car tonight. Probably got a little more than we needed there in the new tire strategy, but this got what it deserves. They work really hard and do a great job. They have great leadership and great management and great engineers. I'm just happy for our group really because they work hard for it and to get a result every now and then is something you need obviously and we've been waiting for it."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet): "Our PPG Chevy was really good today. We had some issues during the weekend but we never gave up. Yesterday in qualifying got really loose and we came back today really strong, passing people. I got inside of him (Ed Carpenter) and he was running high and then all of a sudden decided to run low. He had been running every lap on the top. I got a run I got inside of him and he just turned down on me. Very frustrating deal but we have to move on. We're still in good shape."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "It's always good to get a top-10 finish, but it's just disappointing that we fell from our starting spot of fourth down to ninth at the finish. The No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet felt really good throughout the race, but just there at the end we couldn't hold on after such a long stint. Like I said, a top-10 finish is great but I want to win."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet): "It was a long day for the No. 83 Levemir® FlexTouch® Chevrolet, but I'll definitely take a top-10 finish. I have to give a lot of credit to the crew – they were just awesome in pit lane. The stops were right and the strategy was right and we were really fast in clean air. Once the field got strung out, I was running fast lap times but I need to figure out how to run in traffic before I really master short-track racing. I feel really good with that finish and now we just need to put our heads down and get ready for Toronto."
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): "It's one of those things. They took a gamble and it's such a shame because we dominated the race and I had a lot of fun but what can I do? It seems like we've been knocking on the door and to win races, we have to run up front so that's what we've been doing . Let's take the third place and then go to Toronto. I thank Firestone for the great tires, Chevy and Target and TNT for the great support. I hope the fans liked the race. We led too much so it was probably a little bit boring but, man, we can't get it right. But we'll get it."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 Automatic Fire Sprinklers KV AFS Chevrolet): "Very hard to describe how disappointed I am. This was our day, we had a car that I connected very well with. We were very loose from the beginning but I loved it and I was driving where I needed to drive it. Unfortunately at the end of the third stint, everyone was struggling with grip and my rear tires were extremely worn and I just couldn't save this "moment" and it ended our day. Tonight's result doesn't show how good a car we had. I want to apologize to everyone who believed in me today, we had this race and I take full responsibility. We have shown that we can do and that we belong at the front, so we will keep digging and head to Toronto next weekend."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "I'm proud of the Verizon Chevy boys. It was a tough call at the end there. Had we went with the new tires we might have been looking pretty good. But a tough day to work hard with the Verizon Chevy doing so well, and then to finish fourteenth just wasn't where we expected to be tonight. We'll move forward and look ahead to Toronto."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): "It was just a survival-type race. We were just trying to hang in to salvage something – we fought hard to stay on the lead lap. I think once the sun was totally down, the Snapple car started to get a little bit better. I'm just really bummed because I feel like we would have probably been on a similar strategy to Ryan (Hunter-Reay) at the end. I know, myself, I always would have taken tires. If I didn't have a shot at winning, I would have tried something that would have given me a shot, so definitely disappointed."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "The Hitachi Chevy was awesome today. I'm really proud of the team. To be honest, from the first practice session to the race we changed a lot on this car and it was great. We were running in the top three most of the day. Obviously, finishing in the eighth position isn't where we deserved to finish. But it was a gamble there at the end. We are leaving here with the championship lead and that is what we need to focus on moving forward."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "Our Fuzzy's car had understeer all race and we were just hanging on at the end of the race. We had to pit for tires late and that got us from 14th to 5th in the last nine laps. Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and Josef (Newgarden) and others pitted at the right time for tires. We didn't get that just right at the end. But I'm happy with fifth tonight. Our crew was spectacular on the pit stops too. I would like to apologize to Juan Pablo (Montoya for the lap 280 incident). I'm sorry that he crashed but I didn't do it on purpose. I was hanging on with my tires and I didn't know that he was there. I never saw him up next to me. And we didn't bump. By the time my spotter (Lee Bentham) mentioned left corner to me, I went low to avoid pushing up towards the wall. I'm sorry that happened. I'll plan to talk to him about it too."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): I just couldn't see anything. It was all bad smoke and until I hit him, I couldn't see anything. I tried to avoid it. (The season) has been difficult. So many unfortunate events. Somewhere we'll turn up and unfortunately it wasn't this weekend. Hopefully we can keep pushing and do better in Toronto. Not a lot of damage, just bad luck.
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): "It was a tough night. We got lucky to stay on the lead lap and be there at the end. It's my fifth top-10 in my seven races here but we need to be better in order to win. Coming in to the event, I thought this was a race we could have won. I thought this was the place that we should be able to run up front but from the start of the race the car was extremely loose. I'm just happy to bring it home frankly. The National Guard guys did a great job with the calls. I thought that (pit on the last caution for tires) was the right call. I felt that if we had newer tires we would be able to get by the. The guys with the newest tires finished first and second. We made the right calls. We just have to find more speed."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing Honda): "I think we had a top-six car today. We spent a lot of time battling up front, but we had a bit of tough luck with the timing of the caution for Marco Andretti's incident. We pit right before the caution came out, which put us at the back of the field. Before the final restart, we chose not to take fresh tires, which was a bold call that didn't work out for us. You have to make those calls in racing, though. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. We just couldn't catch a break tonight. It was an exciting shootout at the end for the guys with new tires, and congrats to Honda and Ryan Hunter-Reay on grabbing that one at the end. It's a shame we couldn't capitalize on Team Penske having a tough race, but we're still right there with them heading into Toronto."
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