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Baltimore IndyCar: Ryan Hunter-Reay's victory sets up title showdown

Ryan Hunter-Reay wins in BaltimoreRyan Hunter-Reay ensured that the IndyCar title fight will go down to the wire after winning a chaotic race in Baltimore.

The American took the lead from Ryan Briscoe on a late restart, although he nearly lost it on the following restart when he locked up on the way into the first corner and was lucky to avoid both the wall and losing a place to Simon Pagenaud.

Despite the close calls Hunter-Reay continued unscathed and crossed the line with a margin of 1.4 seconds, while Briscoe was able to pass Pagenaud to reclaim second.

Briscoe's result owed a lot to a late string of yellows, which allowed him to stretch a marginal fuel range to make it to the finish without requiring a late stop. Just how close it was for the Australian was proven when he ran out of fuel on his slowing-down lap.

The restart where Hunter-Reay took the lead was a source of some controversy immediately after the finish, with Briscoe's Penske team believing that its rival had jumped early. Replays appeared to prove that the Andretti driver's move was within the rules.

Pagenaud was third, distinguishing himself by making the best restart of the year when he rocketed from sixth to first, but he lost the lead a few laps later when Hunter-Reay leapfrogged him during the pitstops.

Series leader Will Power held command during the opening stretch, but the afternoon was turned on its head when light rain began to fall on lap 18.

Power was among those who decided to switch to wets. However the rain cleared quickly, and a spell under yellows during the same period meant that the track largely dried before those on wets could get any benefit.

Most of those affected switched back immediately, but Power elected to stay out on the wets a little longer. It was quickly proven to be the wrong call, and when he did finally change back to slicks, he was in 17th place and 48.8s behind the leaders.

He recovered back to fifth, only to be hit by Rubens Barrichello on the second-last lap and drop two places, although he managed to repass Oriol Servia to finish a frustrated sixth. Power's lead over Hunter-Reay is now down to 17 points.

The race was interrupted by several caution periods, many of which were triggered by cars hitting the wall at the exit of the chicane.

The one notable exception was Mike Conway, who crashed at Turn 4. Graham Rahal spun trying to avoid him and tipped Justin Wilson into him instead, an accident that ended with Wilson's car straddling the top of Conway's.

Results - 75 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                        Time/Gap
 1.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti Dallara-Chevy     2h09m02.9522s
 2.  Ryan Briscoe         Penske Dallara-Chevy           + 1.4391s
 3.  Simon Pagenaud       Schmidt Dallara-Honda          + 3.0253s
 4.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi Dallara-Honda          + 3.9281s
 5.  Rubens Barrichello   KV Dallara-Chevy               + 5.0450s
 6.  Will Power           Penske Dallara-Chevy           + 5.7467s
 7.  Oriol Servia         Panther/DRR Dallara-Chevy      + 7.5913s
 8.  Alex Tagliani        Herta Dallara-Honda            + 7.7701s
 9.  EJ Viso              KV Dallara-Chevy               + 8.8651s
10.  Helio Castroneves    Penske Dallara-Chevy           + 9.0843s
11.  Graham Rahal         Ganassi Dallara-Honda         + 10.2963s
12.  JR Hildebrand        Panther Dallara-Chevy         + 17.1591s
13.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi Dallara-Honda           + 1 lap*
14.  Marco Andretti       Andretti Dallara-Chevy           + 1 lap
15.  James Hinchcliffe    Andretti Dallara-Chevy          + 2 laps
16.  Mike Conway          Foyt Dallara-Honda              + 2 laps
17.  Justin Wilson        Coyne Dallara-Honda             + 3 laps


     Charlie Kimball      Ganassi Dallara-Honda            65 laps
     Bruno Junqueira      Fisher Dallara-Honda             64 laps
     Tony Kanaan          KV Dallara-Chevy                 52 laps
     Takuma Sato          Rahal Dallara-Honda              50 laps
     Simona de Silvestro  HVM Dallara-Lotus                38 laps
     Sebastien Bourdais   Dragon Dallara-Chevy             32 laps
     James Jakes          Coyne Dallara-Honda              31 laps
     Ed Carpenter         Carpenter Dallara-Chevy           7 laps

* Not running at finish
British GP competition
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