Ryan Hunter-Reay converted pole position into a win at the Grand Prix of Alabama

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay has broken Team Penske’s stranglehold at the Barber Motorsports Park circuit to claim a narrow victory in the second race of the 2013 season, held last weekend.

The Andretti Autosports driver took the lead in the final 15 laps of the 90-lap race to win by just 0.6 seconds.

Hélio Castroneves had looked on course to continue Team Penske’s domination of the Alabama race and looked on track to give the team its fourth win on the trot here, until Hunter-Reay came storming through.

Chip Ganassi driver Scott Dixon followed suit to finish in second place by just 0.6 seconds – yet again here – while Castroneves rounded out the podium positions as he slipped to third in an entertaining race.

Charlie Kimball backed up his top-six qualifying performing to finish in fourth place for Chip Ganassi, while race favourite Will Power could only manage fifth, ultimately failing in his gamble to run a two-stop strategy while most of the field pitted three times.

Hunter-Reay hounds a two-stopping Power mid-racePower had plenty of drama in the race, squandering his good qualifying position by running wide and dropping seven places on a frantic opening lap. Running out of place necessitated a switch to a two-stop race, and his cause was not helped by being forced to run his engine lean due to the absence of safety car interruptions mid-race. He spluttered to a halt moments after crossing the finish line, his fuel tank having run completely dry.

Franchitti suffered another retirement, although this time it wasn't of his own doingHis problems paled in comparison to James Hinchcliffe, winner of the season-opening race at St Petersburg a fortnight before.

The Canadian was eliminated on the opening lap, suffering damage to a wheel after contact with Oriol Servia and Graham Rahal.

Former champion Dario Franchitti registered back-to-back DNFs, retiring his Chip Ganassi Honda with a broken header. The result was all the more disappointing after he staged a solid charge through the field to run comfortably inside the top-ten, having started from a lowly seventeenth on the grid.

But all eyes were on Hunter-Reay, who rocketed up to third overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings, trailing Castroneves and Dixon in the early points race.

The field now packs up and heads west to California to contest the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 21.

2013 IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama Final Classification (90 laps):

No. Driver   Entry / Team Laps Result
1. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 90 1:52:04.5450
2. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 90 + 0.6363
3. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske – Chevrolet 90 + 17.6821
4. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 90 + 20.6166
5. Will Power AUS Team Penske – Chevrolet 90 + 26.6469
6. Simon Pagenaud SPH – Honda09 90 + 27.2995
7. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 90 + 27.7175
8. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 90 + 30.5504
9. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman – Honda 90 + 41.1029
10. Tristan Vautier SPH – Honda 90 + 50.6449
11. Alex Tagliani CAN Barracuda Racing – Honda 90 + 59.0458
12. E.J. Viso Team Venzuela – Chevrolet 90 + 1:01.4334
13. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 90 + 1:01.6834
14. Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises – Honda 90 + 1:03.1151
15. Oriol Servià Panther / D&R – Chevrolet 90 + 1:03.1495
16. Sébastien Bourdais Dragon Racing – Chevrolet 90 + 1:07.6880
17. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing – Chevrolet 90 + 1:09.7447
18. Simona de Silvestro KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 90 + 1:09.9130
19. AJ Allmendinger USA Team Penske – Chevrolet 90 + 1:11.0558
20. Sebastián Saavedra Dragon Racing – Chevrolet 90 + 1:11.6523
21. Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 90 + 1:14.0385
22. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet 89 + 1 lap
23. James Jakes Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 86 + 4 laps
  Not Classified          
DNF. Ana Beatriz BRA Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 65 Mechanical
DNF. Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 42 Mechanical
DNF. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 3 Accident

Youth Without Borders

Matthew Lennon
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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.