Hunter-Reay steals one in a thrilling finish at Iowa

A late-race call for tires helped Hunter-Reay tear his way up through the pack and into Victory Lane.

With 20 laps to go in the Iowa Corn Indy 300, Juan Pablo Montoya hit the wall, causing a late race caution.  Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter, James Hinchcliffe and Graham Rahal pitted for fresh tires.

It proved to be the right call as Ryan Hunter-Reay won for the second time in three years at Iowa Speedway and lengthened Andretti Autosport’s winning streak at the track to five.

Hunter-Reay charged through the field and passed Tony Kanaan for the lead with less than a handful of laps to go.  Newgarden went around Kanaan on the last lap to nab second place with Kanaan finishing third after leading over 200 laps of the 300 lap race.

Scott Dixon was fourth and Ed Carpenter fifth.  Hinchcliffe, Rahal, Castroneves, Briscoe and Kimball rounded out the top ten.

The race started 20 minutes early under a threat of rain, and the race ran for 32 laps before a caution was called for moisture.  The race was red flagged for a total of 26 minutes and was resumed for a few seconds before Mikhail Aleshin spun coming off of turn four on the restart, collecting Takuma Sato in the process and setting A J Foyt off on another rant.

The race continued under green until a caution was called for Juan Pablo Montoya’s left rear wing endplate which had fallen off the car onto the track.

The race had several surprises, one of which was Sebastian Saavedra.  The KV Racing driver was on rails during the middle stages of the race, reaching third place before his day went sour on the 160th lap.

Saavedra got too high in turns one and two and couldn’t save his loose race car with the worn rear tires, tagging the wall.

“We were very loose from the beginning, but I loved it, and I was driving where I needed to drive it. Unfortunately, at the end of the third stint everyone was struggling with grip, and my rear tires were extremely worn and I just couldn’t save this “moment” and it ended our day. Tonight’s result doesn’t show how good a car we had,” Saavedra said.

Saavedra wasn’t the only driver to have bad luck as Marco Andretti did a repeat of his performance at Texas Motor Speedway by blowing his engine, only this time he made it 230 laps before it happened.

The next big controversy took place on lap 282 as Juan Pablo Montoya went to pass Ed Carpenter heading into turn three.  Carpenter turned down and cut Montoya off, which left Montoya spinning and crashing into the wall, ending his day.

Hunter-Reay and Newgarden took new tires as Carpenter pitted later than the others that took advantage to pit under the caution flag.  Carpenter started fourteenth on the final restart but finished fifth, while Hunter-Reay and Newgarden capitalized on their new tires, setting their fastest laps of the race while running on low fuel at the end. 

With less than three laps to go, the 2014 Indy 500 winner powered by Tony Kanaan, who had led most of the race up until that point. Josef Newgarden quickly followed suit.

The points were shaken up with Will Power losing ground to Castroneves after making contact with the wall late and falling to 14th. He is now nine points behind his Team Penske teammate with Hunter-Reay 32 points back in third.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Event Iowa
Sub-event Saturday race
Track Iowa Speedway
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Andretti Autosport , Team Penske
Article type Race report