Hunter-Reay Shines At Long Beach
April 18, 2010 | 6:17 P.M. EST
Hunter-Reay prevailed in the breakneck Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - a race slowed by a lone full-course caution (tying an IZOD IndyCar Series road/street course record) - holding off Justin Wilson by 5.6031 seconds en route to his second career win.
"It was the most fun I had in a race car because it was handling so well," said Hunter-Reay, who is the first American to win at Long Beach since Andretti in 2002. "My mom is out there today. She passed along recently and this race is for her. Over the last couple of laps I said 'This is for you, Mom.'"
The win was the first for Andretti Autosport since Tony Kanaan won in 2008 at Richmond. The team was named Andretti Green Racing at that time. The victory ended a drought of 28 consecutive races without a victory.
"I love this place," said owner Michael Andretti. "It's where I got my first win as a driver (1986) and where I got my first win as a sole owner."
Hunter-Reay became the first American driver to win an IndyCar Series race since he won in July 2008 at Watkins Glen.
Will Power, the championship points leader and pole-sitter, finished third in the 85-lap race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit. He heads to the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway on May 1 having extended his lead to 42 points over teammate Helio Castroneves (130). Hunter-Reay is third (129) and Wilson is fourth (125).
"The Verizon Wireless car is still leading in points, and the team has a goal of winning the championship, so we are still in line for that," Power said. "Overall it was a good day, but on one lap I got stuck in first gear. I have no idea why that happened, and I hope it doesn't do that again because I slowed down. I was able to get out of it and speed back up, but it hurt my placement. It is great to be on the podium again this weekend, and I am very happy with the car and the team."
Scott Dixon and Kanaan rounded out the top five.
The next IndyCar Series race is the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 on Saturday, May 1 at Kansas Speedway. It starts a stretch of four consecutive races on ovals after the season began with four consecutive street/road course races.