Hunter-Reay Wins Wet and Wild Race
August 14, 2011 | 6:00 P.M. EST
Ryan Hunter-Reay captured the fifth win of his career on Sunday. (Photo: IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay was the race leader when moisture on the racing surface at New Hampshire Motor Speedway brought out the yellow flag. About 20 minutes later and after much confusion, he was in Victory Circle for a muted celebration for winning the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225.
The finish order was set based on the Lap 215 running order under caution -- before a Lap 217 restart that went awry because of a slick racing surface.
"It will be an aborted restart. It was a mistake on Race Control's part and the only right thing to do and the fair thing to do is to go to the running order before the restart," said INDYCAR president of competition and operations Brian Barnhart, the chief steward of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
As cars exited Turn 4 of the 1.025-mile oval for the double-file restart, Danica Patrick's car spun to start a chain reaction of light contact that involved four other cars on the lead lap.
Hunter-Reay, who started fifth in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop car for Andretti Autosport and inherited the lead on Lap 190 when Takuma Sato pitted for fuel, earned his first IZOD IndyCar Series oval victory. He's had podium finishes in three of the past four races.
"I knew we had a good car this weekend and in practice we've been making the car better and better," Hunter-Reay said. "They have done such a good job. We have great chemistry on this team and it's a great result."
Oriol Servia finished a season-high second in the No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing car and Scott Dixon earned his second consecutive podium finish (he won at Mid-Ohio a week earlier) in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. Rookie James Hinchcliffe tied his season high in fourth place in the No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing car.
Will Power, who started 13th in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, finished fifth and Patrick was sixth. Power's result sliced 15 points from Dario Franchitti's series championship points lead. That gap is now 47 heading to Infineon Raceway for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 27.
Franchitti appeared to be on the way to a big day until Lap 118. That's when the race leader was involved in a tire-to-tire collision with Sato's No. 5 KV Racing Technology-Lotus car on a restart that spun the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car into the inside wall near the start/finish line.
Franchitti, who earned the three bonus points for the pole and leading the most race laps, had been running at the finish in 43 consecutive races.