In A Nutshell: From the “Where did HE come from” category, Ryan Hunter-Reay and team pulled off the steal with a sprint to the finish at Iowa Speedway. Hunter-Reay pitted for fresh rubber on lap 284 under caution, giving up four spots in the gamble, and it paid off. Restarting on lap 292 in tenth, RHR sliced his way through the field, passing Tony Kanaan, who’d led 242 laps on the night, with just two laps remaining. Those were the only two laps he led en route to the victory. Josef Newgarden, who’d also stopped for fresh tires and restarted 11th, followed him home in second. Kanaan ended up third, followed by Scott Dixon and Ed Carpenter rounding out the top five.
Key Moment: Ed Carpenter cut down on Juan Pablo Montoya, sending Montoya into the wall and bringing out a caution on lap 282 of 300. Ryan Hunter-Reay admitted his tires were worn out and he wasn’t likely to pick up any spots, but the late caution presented the team with the opportunity to take a chance and try out a strategy call. It proved to be a winning call.
-You know this always happens when someone is dominating, but I feel a little bad for those folks who wanted to get a jump on traffic and left before the finish. The run Hunter-Reay made for the win was a beauty and made for a completely unexpected result.
-Andretti Autosport has won five in a row at Iowa, and has the winner’s trophy for six of the eight races held at the track.
-Rain, rain, go away. Summer evenings being summer evenings, a little stormy weather in the area caused officals to move the start up a bit, and a brief shower put the event under the red for 26 minutes 40 laps in. Fortunately, things cleared up and after the short stop, the race resumed and ran to full distance.
-Ah, the television jinx. Sebastian Saavedra was having a great run, starting 17th and making it all the way to third, at which point he got props from the announcers for the fantastic race he was putting together. And then he promptly hit the wall. Oh well.
-For just a moment there it looked like Montoya was thinking about a helmet toss at Ed Carpenter, a thought likely shared by the safety crew member who grabbed his arm too. On further thought, while a great highlight in NASCAR, not so good with open cockpit cars. In NASCAR, it’s pretty much impossible to hit a guy with a helmet. It’s probably just going to bounce off the car. Even if you chucked it in the passenger window, it’s not likely to do much. In IndyCar, it’s all too easy to actually hit the guy and that just isn’t cool, no matter how badly he dumped you.
-Can you say “douchebag” on television? Can I say it in this article? Now we know what Montoya learned during his time in NASCAR….
-Irony. Ed Carpenter complained in the early going that Will Power was moving around too much in front of him, changing lines, making it tough to pass, saying Power ought to pick a lane and stay in it. The accident happened with Montoya because Carpenter suddenly made a dive to the bottom, he says because he just wanted to try a different line. Hm.
Notable Driver: Josef Newgarden’s team made the same call as Hunter-Reay’s, pitting on lap 284 under caution for fresh tires. Newgarden restarted in 11th and like RHR, sliced his way through the field, ending up second, his career best finish. It’s worth noting as well that Newgarden started 21st after a poor qualifying effort. Sure, it was the fresh rubber that gave him a boost in the closing laps, but give Newgarden credit for overcoming a poor start, hanging in there, and being in a position where the strategy call could actually work. He was going to have a decent finish but he ended up with a stellar one.
Quotes and Tweets:
Andretti Autosport @FollowAndretti
Five in a row here in Iowa for Andretti Autosport! Congrats @RyanHunterReay! #iowacorn300 #indycar instagram.com/p/qYEC0rGrLc/
More bad luck for @TakumaSatoRacer: No. 7 spins into him & takes him out. Will get that gorilla off our back in Toronto! #Indycar
Staying awake to see if JPM tweets “No entiendo por qué el señor Carpenter es una bolsa de douche.” But but not much longer. #indycar
“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 (new tires) call because I didn’t think we’d have enough time. Man that was fun. It was like a video game at the end. It was just shredding through it. The DHL No. 28 Honda was just on fire at the end. It was really, really good.” Ryan Hunter-Reay
“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 it 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.” Second place finisher Josef Newgarden.
“Strong result? Well, it was a good one. What can I say? We had a good day. I mean, we lead 247 laps out of 300. I think we showed them what we had. At the end there sometimes strategies and gambles play out. We got played. Fair enough. I’ve won races like that, too. I lost today. It’s just hard to take it. But I think to win races we got to run up front, and that’s what we’ve been doing in the past three races. We just got to keep doing that.” Third place finisher Tony Kanaan, who dominated, leading 247 of 300 laps.
“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.” Ed Carpenter on the incident with Montoya.
“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.” Juan Pablo Montoya, perhaps after a little cool down period.
What’s Next: It’s another doubleheader, this time in the streets of Toronto,for the Honda Indy Toronto, 2 in T.O., next Saturday and Sunday, July 19-20. Both races go off at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on their respective days and both will be televised on NBC Sports Network. Double races means another big double point weekend on tap!