Huertas earns maiden IndyCar victory in a Colombian 1-2-3
Colombians go 1-2-3 in the opening race in Houston.
Rookie Carlos Huertas has won for the first time in his young IndyCar career. In fact, it was a day that should have all Colombian race fans celebrating well into the night. Colombian born racers finished first, second, and third! That has never happened in the history of the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“You always have a chance to win if you do the right things at the right time,” said Huertas, who started 19th. “Today was really tough. I was really struggling," admitted the rookie. "I had no pace in the first half of the race. But I reminded myself just to stay calm and do what you have to do and I did that. The team called it perfectly with the fuel, and yeah, it’s a great day.”
Huertas becomes the seventh different winner in just nine races this season.
After finishing second, Juan Pablo Montoya talked about his eventful day saying, “We were forced to do something different and it paid off. I was amazed. We did a timed race and with 35 minutes to go, I’m counting laps and I’m thinking, ‘We can make it. Why are they not stopping.’ Our Verizon Chevy was very good today. I thought we had a chance to win, but at the end the tires went off.”
The race was set to have an epic finish with a one-lap shootout in damp conditions, but instead, ended with Graham Rahal running Tony Kanaan over and spinning the Ganassi car around. He, along with Briscoe, were handed time penalties that dropped them out of the top ten.
Following the incident, a disgusted Kanaan (who was running third at the time) told NBC, "I have to be professional, so I can't do what I really want to do."
The end of the race collision between Rahal and Kanaan was not the only controversy to document from the day however. Partway through the event, Takuma Sato attempted to overtake Mikhail Aleshin (a lap car), when the two crashed. Sato was running second at the time and had led a number of laps prior to that point. Team owner A.J. Foyt was livid, stating that there are 'too many idiots out there' (I'm paraphrasing by the way).
Due to the treacherous conditions, the attrition rate was understandably high. One of the more notable incidents involved Scott Dixon. After bouncing off the wall, he ricocheted back into traffic and into the path of Ganassi teammate Charlie Kimball and pole-sitter Simon Pagenaud.
Mike Conway suffered a sprained thumb after an earlier accident. He will be reevaluated before Race Two tomorrow.
Will Power spun during the rain-marred race as well, but still holds a 33 point advantage over Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves in the championship standings. Ryan Hunter-Reay sits third, 50 points adrift of the lead.
Quotes from IndyCar provided to Motorsport.com by Christopher DeHarde
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