Hunter-Reay Bags A Third Straight IndyCar Victory

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 8 2012

Ryan Hunter-Reay left Toronto as the IZOD IndyCar Series' top man on Sunday. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)


The IZOD IndyCar Series has a new points leader and a new top team as Ryan Hunter -Reay of Andretti Autosport won the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday to give him three straight victories and a sizable lead in the season standings.

Hunter-Reay inherited the lead on lap 57 at the Exhibition Place street circuit when JR Hildebrand pitted. From there, Hunter-Reay built on his lead  and appeared headed to an easy victory on the 1.75-mile, 11-turn course.

But a couple of wrecks over the final laps ended the race under caution.

The victory came after Hunter-Reay had notched victories at the Milwaukee and Iowa ovals in the previous two races.

Charlie Kimball earned a career-best runner-up finish and Mike Conway came from the 11th starting spot to place a season-high third (the first podium for A.J. Foyt Racing since Brazil in 2010).

Tony Kanaan finished fourth and Oriol Servia was fifth.

Hunter-Reay, who entered the race three points behind front-runner Will Power in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings, heads to the Edmonton Indy with a 34-point lead as Power’s No. 12

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Charlie Kimball and Mike Conway cross the finish line in Toronto. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)

Verizon Team Penske car finished 15th (contact with the car driven by Josef Newgarden on Lap 56). Helio Castroneves, who finished sixth, overtook Scott Dixon (out early with an engine issue) for third (46 points back).

“This is awesome,” Hunter-Reay said. “There’s a championship run going on right now. I’m a part of it as much as everybody on this team is and they did excellent pit stops. They gave me the car to win today. We had it when it mattered again – at the end. We don’t need to win the beginning of the race. We need to win the end and it’s been such a pleasure.

“I can’t even believe – three races. This is going to take a second to settle in. Now. I’m thinking we’ve got to do it again next weekend.We started seventh in Iowa, and it is a little bit harder to pass here but in IndyCar and these street races you just have to stick with it, no matter if you’re fourteenth, you just have to keep giving 110 percent and sometimes it shakes out for you. Today we had the right strategy; we had the right race car; we had the good pit stops; and I did it on the track.”

Kimball was well behind Hunter-Reay as the race headed toward a conclusion. But a wreck on lap 79 of the 85-lap race brought out a caution and gave the Chip Ganassi Racing driver a shot at his first victory.

On the restart on lap 82, the field bunched up heading into Turn 1. Kimball made light contact with Sebastien Bourdais while Hunter-Reay got through cleanly.

Bourdais was not too happy with Kemball after the race.

“I passed Kimball on the restart…I don’t know what he did,” Bourdais said. “Mistake…completely lose mind. If I didn’t give him the room, it was going to throw me in the tires, so I avoided the contact. I saw him coming so suddenly, I had to open the steering like super quick. I got on the marbles, and there was no way I could make the corner from there. Very disappointing because we should have finished on the podium, whatever place that was. That would have been great for the whole Dragon Racing crew. But, we’ll try again.”

In Turn 3, another larger wreck occurred behind the leaders and that brought out the caution again.

A late wreck took out several cars – including that of reigning champion Dario Franchitti – in Turn 3 at Toronto. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)

The race would not restart but Kimball had his second-place finish.

“That last restart got pretty busy,” Kimball said, “but at the end of the day we came home with a clean results and all credit to Ryan. They worked the strategy, started up front and stayed there, Mike (Conway) ran me reasonably clean at that last restart. Only a couple of marks on my sidepod, we made it through the corner, and as he said, it’s kind of unfortunate that with all the marbles, Seb (Bourdais) got caught up in Turn 1.”

Conway, too, was disappointed not to win, but happy about getting his A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara on the podium.

“The guys at A.J. Foyt Racing have been working really hard all year,” he said. “We’ve been getting in there, getting in there, and this weekend I felt like we started off better than we have before, so we just kept dialing in and come warm-up this morning, I was pretty happy with it. I knew that we could walk a way forward, but I was surprised at how good we were on that first stint and we could just move our way forward and work our way out to the front. But you know with that yellow, we got caught out there, I was in the back and had to do it all again, but it was a lot of fun, so big thank you to my crew.”

Ten different teams were represented in the top 10 of the standings.

Results Sunday of the Honda Indy Toronto IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.755 mile Streets of Toronto, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (6) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

2. (13) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running

3. (11) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running

4. (17) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

5. (14) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

6. (7) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

7. (15) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

8. (24) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running

9. (9) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running

10. (16) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running

11. (18) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

12. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running

13. (20) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running

14. (4) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running

15. (2) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running

16. (22) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running

17. (1) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running

18. (21) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running

19. (12) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 83, Contact

20. (23) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 81, Running

21. (3) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 67, Contact

22. (19) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 28, Mechanical

23. (10) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 23, Contact

24. (25) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 9, Mechanical

25. (5) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 7, Mechanical

Race Statistics

Winners average speed: 95.787

Time of Race: 01:33:26.5096

Margin of victory: Under Caution

Cautions: 8

Lead changes: 5

Lap Leaders: Franchitti 1 – 5, Power 6 – 25, Pagenaud 26 – 48, Hunter-Reay 49 – 55, Hildebrand 56, Hunter-Reay 57 – 85.

Point Standings: Hunter-Reay 335, Power 301, Castroneves 289, Dixon 281, Hinchcliffe 268, Kanaan 267, Pagenaud 264, Franchitti 230, Briscoe 217, Servia 215.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 8 2012
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