Andretti Autosport made it 5 for 5 at Iowa tonight when their leader Ryan Hunter-Reay stormed from 9th to 1st in the final 9 laps to take a surprise victory in the Iowa Corn Indy 300. A late race caution with 15 laps to go came out when Ed Carpenter chopped a hard charging Juan Pablo Montoya and sent the Penske driver into the wall. An incensed Montoya considered a NASCAR style helmet toss but settled for an angry arm wave as Carpenter went past his stricken car on the next lap. IndyCar officials threw further fuel onto the fire when they decided to take no further action despite the fact that Carpenter clearly deserved a penalty. For his part, Carpenter issued an on-air apology after the finish, but Montoya was obviously seething.
They all love preaching safe racing and everything, but when you’re going to pass them they’re just douche bags, you know. – Juan Pablo Montoya
The caution allowed Hunter-Reay and Carpenter among others to dive for pit lane and a fresh set of Firestone tires with 12 to go. When the green flag came out with 9 laps to go Hunter-Reay seemed a distant 9th, with Tony Kanaan who led a race high 247 laps running one-two with his Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon. Behind them Castroneves and Power ran three-four for Penske. Briscoe, Hinchcliffe, Pagenaud and Wilson all stood between RHR and victory lane. At the restart, Hunter-Reay streamed past Pagenaud and Wilson before he put on an outstanding double move past both Hincliffe and Power. Power made contact with the wall and fell to 14th, Castroneves followed suit and fell back to 8th as the cars who took on fresh tires stormed to the front. Hunter-Reay quickly came upon Dixon and dispatched the Kiwi with ease, Newgarden got Dixon on the next lap. Hunter-Reay played the party crasher and took Kanaan for the lead with 2 to go to take victory and continue the Andretti Autosport domination of Iowa. Newgarden added insult to injury as he too passed Kanaan to take second, moving up 19 spots from his starting position, the only man bettering Hunter-Reay on that regard who took 11 spots on the day.
Man that was fun. It was like a video game at the end, it was just shredding through it, the DHL 28 Honda was just on fire at the end it was really, really good. – Ryan Hunter-Reay
On a day when Honda powered cars seemed to struggle and Ganassi seemed primed to break its season-long winless streak, Kanaan, Dixon and Chevrolet had to settle for 3rd and 4th place and wonder where it all went wrong.
Those sneaky little buggers there, I couldn’t believe it!
– Scott Dixon, when asked about Hunter-Reay’s Ganassi ambush.
Their shock was Ryan Hunter-Reay’s jubilation as he and the entire Andretti Autosport squad were overjoyed. Hunter-Reay is now the only three time winner in 2014 and has vaulted himself to third in the championship standings behind the Penske duo of Helio Castroneves and Will Power. After a string of lackluster finishes following his Indy 500 victory, Hunter-Reay has firmly re-established himself in the championship hunt. He, Pagenaud and Munoz will be looking to break Team Penske’s season long stranglehold on the championship as the series now heads to the brutal streets on Toronto for its last double header of the season.
Iowa Corn 300 Unofficial Results
1. #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
2. #67 Josef Newgarden, SFHR
3. #10 Tony Kanaan, TCGR
4. #9 Scott Dixon, TCGR
5. #20 Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing
6. #27 James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport
7. #15 Graham Rahal, RLL Racing
8. #3 Helio Castroneves, Team Penske
9. #8 Ryan Briscoe, Ganassi
10. #83 Charlie Kimball, Ganassi
11. #77 Simon Pagenaud, SPH Motorsports
12. #34 Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport
13. #19 Justin Wilson, Dale Coyne Racing
14. #12 Will Power, Team Penske
15. #98 Jack Hawksworth
16. #2 Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske
17. #17 Sebastian Saaavedra
18. #25 Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosort
19. #11 Sebastien Bourdais, KV Racing
20. #18 Carlos Huertas, Dale Coyne Racing
21. #7 Mikhail Aleshin, SPH Motorsports
22. #14 Takuma Sato, AJ Foyt Racing