Chicagoland: AJ Foyt Racing race report

JOLIET, IL Aug. 29, 2009--In spite of the cold temperatures Saturday night, the racing action was hot and heavy in the Peak Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. Unfortunately for Ryan Hunter-Reay and the ABC Supply team, the...

JOLIET, IL Aug. 29, 2009--In spite of the cold temperatures Saturday night, the racing action was hot and heavy in the Peak Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Unfortunately for Ryan Hunter-Reay and the ABC Supply team, the beginning of the race saw him get stuck behind a couple cars causing him to lose the main draft.

"I got hung up in the beginning behind guys who weren't flat-footing it through the turns and we lost the main draft and that sealed out fate," said Hunter-Reay afterwards.

Starting 18th, Hunter-Reay lost half a lap by the time of his first pit stop on lap 42. Being out of the main draft, the car was using more fuel which caused him to pit earlier than the leaders.? The leaders passed him when he emerged from hi stop and he was never able to get the lap back.? He had a slight push in the beginning of the race - the team the front wing on the second stop.? Compunding the issue was being geared too low in the top two gears.?

However, several yellows slowed the pace, allowing the field to catch up to the leaders, near the halfway point . Hunter-Reay was able to stay in the draft and run with the pack even though it wasn't for a top 10 position due to his earlier travails.

With 17 laps left in the 200-lapper, Helio Castroneves suffered a suspension failure which shot his car into the wall bringing out the final caution. He escaped uninjured. The green flag flew with 10 laps to go setting up a tense battle among the top five cars. Ryan Briscoe edged out Scott Dixon at the line while Mario Moraes beat Dario Franchitti to finish third. Graham Rahal rounded out the top five.

With the aerodynamic changes recently authorized by the IRL, the cars were able to run closer together than they had in recent months. There were races within the race as the cars ran two and three wide nearly the entire race. Several times cars touched wheels as the drivers diced for position.

"When we have racing like that we have to take it back a step and have more respect for each other," said Hunter-Reay. "There was a lot of chopping out there. I saw a couple times where cars touched and should have gone flying. There were way too many close calls. This racing can be fun if you do it right."

The next race is the Japan Indy 300 at Twin Ring Motegi on September 19th.

-credit: ajfr

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Graham Rahal , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Mario Moraes