Four separate raceday incidents and a 20th place finish left Ryan Hunter-Reay describing his Long Beach weekend as a complete nightmare, despite having the pace to run in the top three in qualifying and race.
Hunter-Reay started seventh after being penalized for a pitlane exit infraction in Q2 on Saturday, but was forced into a front wing change after his Andretti Autosport-Honda clipped the rear of Scott Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda.
He pitted under the caution caused by the Graham Rahal/Simon Pagenaud contact, switched to a three-stop strategy, and stormed through the pack to even lead as others pitted.
But following a restart, the car got loose and was hit by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato, causing the Andretti driver to pick up a puncture.
After falling to the back once again, Hunter-Reay then had to come to a halt when, Jordan King tipped Sebastien Bourdais into a spin and blocked the track.
Following the final restart, Hunter-Reay crashed just four laps from the end.
"Congratulations to [teammate and winner Alexander Rossi],” said Hunter-Reay. “He was on rails all weekend. For us, it was a complete nightmare of a day.
“We had a damaged front wing on the start, came in for a wing change, went to the back and made our way up to fifth place.
“Then, I think Sato hit my right rear with his wing, we got a puncture and had to come in, and we went to the back.
“We came back through, again, to 11th and then Bourdais got spun around in the hairpin. I got stuck in that, and, again, to the back."
“On the last restart, I was just aggressive and put the power down. The back end stepped out and smacked the wall; we broke the left rear suspension.
“It was a weekend to forget. The potential was there and that makes it sting even more. Great job to my crew, they did everything they needed to. We'll focus on Barber from here."