Hunter-Reay Prevails at Long Beach Quick to take advantage when a very minor problem struck pole qualifier and early-race leader Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay snatched the Grand Prix of Long Beach lead on Lap 20 of Sunday's 85-lap IZOD IndyCar ...
Hunter-Reay Prevails at Long Beach
Quick to take advantage when a very minor problem struck pole qualifier and early-race leader Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay snatched the Grand Prix of Long Beach lead on Lap 20 of Sunday's 85-lap IZOD IndyCar Series race and held his advantage to the finish for the first victory for himself - and his Andretti Autosport team - since mid-2008.
Starting second, on the outside of the front row, Hunter-Reay trailed two- race winner Power for the first 19 laps, then pounced when the championship leader's Team Penske machine briefly stuck in third gear coming on to the long Shoreline Drive straight. Power's car hesitated for only a second, and the problem never reappeared during the race, but once in the lead Hunter-Reay never looked back, leading a race-high 64 laps and surrendering the lead only during pit stops. For Hunter-Reay, the victory was his first IndyCar win since Watkins Glen in 2008; and the first for Andretti Autosport since Tony Kanaan's win at Richmond that same year.
For the fourth consecutive race weekend this season, all 25 Honda-powered drivers and teams completed the race weekend without a single failure for the Honda Indy V-8 engine. This weekend, drivers logged a total of 8,976.5 trouble-free miles around 1.986-mile Long Beach temporary street circuit.
Finishing in the runner-up position for the second time this season, Justin Wilson had an eventful afternoon, recovering after contact with the lapped car of Alex Lloyd sent him to pit lane for an unscheduled stop to replace his nose, damaged in the collision on Lap 53. Quick pit work from his Dreyer & Reinbold crew and a charging drive during the final 30 laps moved Wilson up to second at the checkers.
Power's problem with his transmission never recurred, and the Team Penske driver soldiered on to finish third, maintaining his early-season championship points lead. Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon led briefly during the final exchange of pit stops, finishing fourth just ahead of Kanaan. KV Racing's Mario Moraes made the biggest gain in the race, finishing sixth after starting only 15th in the 25-car field.
After four consecutive road-course and temporary-street-circuit races to start the 2010 season, the IZOD IndyCar Series moves on to a four-race oval swing, starting May 1 at the 1.5-mile high banked Kansas Speedway.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (#37 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 2nd, finished 1st, 1st IZOD IndyCar victory of 2010, 2nd career victory: "Man, that was awesome! The car was just so much fun to drive today, it was some of the most fun I've ever had in a race car. I was just in a great zone all day long and I truly think we were the fastest car out there, so we deserved this win. I have to thank [team owner] Michael Andretti and [sponsor] IZOD for putting me out there. I've been living here in California for most of the last six years, so this is like a home race for me. Over the last couple of laps, I started thinking a bit about my mom [who passed away late last year]. This one's for her."
Justin Wilson (#22 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda) started 3rd, finished 2nd, 2nd podium finish in four races: "I was pretty livid at one point [following contact with the lapped car of Alex Lloyd]. Ryan [Hunter-Reay] had gotten past Lloyd and I went to follow and got the door slammed in my face. I had to pit for a new nose and thought it was all over. But the team was great, it was a fantastic recovery. The car was still nearly perfect, as it had been all weekend, and we got a bit of a break with the yellow [caution flag]. Once more, we're right there, finishing on the podium, and that's exactly what we need to keep doing."
Erik Berkman (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "What a perfect day for an IndyCar race! The weather was Southern California perfect and, judging from the reactions of the fans, it was a very popular win for Ryan Hunter-Reay. He drove an inch-perfect race, and Justin Wilson's recovery after his contact with Alex Lloyd was exciting to watch, as well. It's great to see the series get off to such a strong start for new sponsor IZOD, with great crowds and exciting races at all four road- and street-course events. Now we head to the ovals, where the challenges are different but just as interesting, and of course the Indianapolis 500."
-source: honda racing