St. Pete: Vision Racing race report

SECOND PLACE FINISH FOR VISION RACING IN SEASON-OPENER ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 5, 2009) - In his debut for Vision Racing, driver Ryan Hunter-Reay handed the team their best career IndyCar Series result with a second place finish after 100...

SECOND PLACE FINISH FOR VISION RACING IN SEASON-OPENER

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 5, 2009) - In his debut for Vision Racing, driver Ryan Hunter-Reay handed the team their best career IndyCar Series result with a second place finish after 100 laps on the streets of St. Petersburg for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

From a 14th place starting position on the grid, Hunter-Reay worked his way up methodically and was able to take advantage of an opportunity that a well timed pit stop provided him on lap 33 just a caution was thrown for two separate accidents. That would put the No. 21 Vision Racing entry into fourth spot half way through the race.

After taking second place away from Justin Wilson on lap 86, Hunter-Reay did his best to challenge race leader Ryan Briscoe in the final laps with attempts on two late restarts. But with the promise of a good finish he remained aggressively smart and earned a podium spot in just his first start with his new team.

Vision Racing teammate Ed Carpenter drove his No.20 Menards Honda/ Dallara/ Firestone as high as third place on lap 70 as the leaders cycled through pit stops and was running in 15th spot when he came in for his final pit stop on lap 71. Leaving the pits on cold tires, an uncharacteristic mistake put him off line and into the marbles in Turn 3, ending his day in the tire barrier. Carpenter is credited with an 18th place finish.

After being unemployed just a little over a week ago, the stars aligned for Hunter-Reay in the last several days and culminated into Sunday's podium finish at St. Petersburg. Hunter-Reay met his Vision Racing crew just seven days ago, was officially announced to the team on Tuesday, first drove the No. 21 machine on Friday and nearly scored a victory in what can be considered a home race for the Florida native.

Additionally, in his debut with Vision Racing, the 28-year-old scored the team's highest finish in their fifth season and gives them their highest ever championship point standing of second place (10 points behind leader) going into the second round of the season two weeks from now.

The almost storybook ending in today's race most certainly provides solid footing for Hunter-Reay and Vision Racing from which to build on during the 2009 season. IndyCar Series racing resumes on the Streets of Long Beach, Calif. in two weeks for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 19 at 5 p.m. ET on VERSUS.

-credit: vr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Ed Carpenter