After 250 drama-packed laps of the Iowa Speedway, it was Ryan Hunter-Reay who, for the second time in two weeks, withstood considerable carnage around him to be first past the post when it counted to take back-to-back wins and the Andretti Autosport team’s third win at Iowa.
The race ended under caution, as a late spin by Katherine Legge ensured the race would finish under yellow. Victory for the second race running firmly stamped Hunter-Reay’s contention for the 2012 championship, as most of his major rivals fell around him.
The race was delayed by almost an hour due to showers which washed away all the rubber laid down from practice sessions and the qualifying races, but once that cleared and the track dried, the drama certainly did not.
Before the green flag even fell, smoke was pouring from the back of pole-sitter Dario Franchitti’s car, as his Honda engine – the same one that won Indianapolis for him – cried enough and gave up in a plume of white smoke and his DW12 came to a steady stop at the entrance to the pit lane.
In a race of high attrition, championship leader Will Power found himself in the wall along with EJ Viso, and entirely at Power’s fault. Power’s spotter failed to notify him of Viso moving up the inside, and Power moved down to the low line through Turn 1, collecting Viso and putting both in the wall.
A similar incident happened later in the race with Ryan Briscoe, who was collected by rookie Josef Newgarden.
|Ryan Briscoe and James Hinchcliffe both ran well until crashing out in separate accidents|
Another championship contender in James Hinchcliffe failed to see the finish, losing the rear end of his car late in the race in a combination of cold tyres following a caution and running in the dirty air behind Hunter-Reay.
Leading late in the event, Dixon was passed by Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan after his tyres deteriorated, eventually finishing fourth.
The standout performer of the day was Simon Pagenaud, who managed his tyres and fuel to perfection, coming through the field from dead last to finish fifth, in another outstanding performance from the Sam Schmidt rookie driver.
But the man of the moment is undoubtedly Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will be wishing the streak of races to continue next week to keep his momentum going. Unfortunately though, we have two weeks now until another stretch of road courses, as the series heads north of the border for the first of a two-race stretch in Canada, at Exhibition Place in Toronto on July 8.
2012 IndyCars Iowa Corn 250 – Final Classification (250 laps):