Edmonton: Rahal Letterman Racing race report

RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING EARNS BACK-TO-BACK TOP-10 FINISHES WITH EIGHTH-PLACE RUN AT EDMONTON EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada - The time is gone/The song is over/Thought I'd something more to say - Pink Floyd Ryan Hunter-Reay ( ...

RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING EARNS BACK-TO-BACK TOP-10 FINISHES WITH EIGHTH-PLACE RUN AT EDMONTON

EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada - The time is gone/The song is over/Thought I'd something more to say - Pink Floyd

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) and Rahal Letterman Racing continued to climb the IndyCar Series point standings with a strong drive at Edmonton Saturday, posting back-to-back top-10 results for the first time this season with an eighth-place run at today's Rexall Edmonton Indy.

A powerful charge from 13th on the starting grid saw the Floridian march through the grid despite a tight track where passing opportunities were few and far between, taking advantage of every opening including an inspired final-lap pass of Tony Kanaan to claim the eighth spot.

"It's a good day for us in the points and that helps, especially with some of the problems some other guys had," Hunter-Reay said. "This wasn't as physical a track as everybody thought it would be but the only time you could pass was if someone made a mistake. There were too many high-speed corners leading to the straights, so it was tough to get a run."

With passing almost nonexistent, teams gambled on a number of different fuel strategies to try and get to the front. RLR was no different, although two late-race factors transformed a likely top-five for Hunter-Reay into the eighth-place finish he took home.

The team was set to pit under green conditions on Lap 62, which would have given Hunter-Reay enough fuel to go the 95-lap distance while most of the rest of the field would have had to pit, but just when Hunter-Reay got the call to pit, the caution flag flew as E.J. Viso drop-kicked Graham Rahal into the tire barriers. The #17 was one of just three cars to pit under that caution, which gave Hunter-Reay the fuel he needed to run hard to the end, while the leaders were doomed to make a final fuel stop that would have promoted Hunter-Reay further up the charts.

But with little more than 15 laps to go in the race, the IndyCar stewards announced that the event would fall under time restrictions, designed to fit the race into the prescribed television window - in effect handing those in front of the #17 Ethanol car a free pass to the end. Undaunted, Hunter-Reay soldiered on, pressuring Kanaan and Dan Wheldon for the final laps, making the pass of Kanaan on his final orbit of the 1.973-mile Edmonton City Centre Airport course.

"Unfortunately we played our game based on the number of laps on the sheet we are given at the start of the weekend," Hunter-Reay told. "But it didn't go the distance and the other teams that gambled on that came out ahead. It seems to be our story this year, but we're still happy to come away with some good points."

His finish leaves him tied for ninth place in the standings with Marco Andretti, where he is just four points behind Oriol Servia in eighth. He and the team also gained ground on seventh-placed Hideki Mutoh and sixth-place Danica Patrick.

The team will take a well-deserved week off next week, ending a string of six races in six weeks before heading to the Kentucky Speedway oval for the Meijer Indy 300 August 9.

-credit: rlr

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Oriol Servia , Graham Rahal , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Marco Andretti , Hideki Mutoh , Danica Patrick