Find out more about our subscriptions

Iowa IndyCar: Ryan Hunter-Reay surges to victory

Ryan Hunter-Reay wins Iowa IndyCar 2014

An inspired strategy call from the Andretti Autosport pitwall was rewarded with an unlikely IndyCar victory for Ryan Hunter-Reay at Iowa on Saturday night.

Hunter-Reay was among a clutch of drivers in the middle of the field to take advantage of a late caution to pit for tyres.

When the restart came with 10 laps to go he surged through the pack, catching and passing Tony Kanaan for the lead just two laps from the end.

"We took the tyres and it was a big gamble," Hunter-Reay said. "Our tyres were shot before that. Man that was fun, that was like a video game at the end. The thing was on rails.

"We had no shot where we were on the older tyres, so we just went for it."

Sarah Fisher Hartman's Josef Newgarden used an identical strategy to leap up to second; the pair derailing what was looking like an increasingly certain Ganassi one-two.

On an evening peppered with random variables, Kanaan's grip on the lead had been the closest thing to a constant: he led 247 of the 300 laps, and yet was helpless to respond when it counted and was left to settle for third ahead of Scott Dixon.

Ed Carpenter was fifth, although his involvement in the race will be remembered mostly for having been on the receiving end of Juan Pablo Montoya's ire after an incident that left the Colombian in the wall.

Montoya had ducked to Carpenter's inside, but Carpenter, unaware that he was under attack, decided to try a lower line and cut across the front of the Penske Dallara-Chevrolet, sending it spinning back into the wall.

Montoya remained on the track to gesticulate at Carpenter next time he came around, and made his continued displeasure clear in a TV interview a few minutes later.

Series officials determined - probably fairly - that it was racing incident, but it ended what had been an exciting night for the Colombian.

Having qualified near the back, Montoya fought his way into the top 10, only for his rear wing endplate to fall off and necessitate a visit to the pits for repairs that put him a lap down. He got his lap back later on, made up some places in his next stop, and at the time of the accident he was fighting Carpenter for sixth.

His Penske team-mates Helio Castroneves and Will Power both faded from frontrunning positions in the final laps - Power's backward progress being aided by a brush with the wall - yet Castroneves still emerged from the weekend with the points lead despite finishing eighth.

The evening was punctuated by six cautions for incidents that included a spin from Mikhail Aleshin that resulted in him collecting Takuma Sato on his way to the wall, and a fiery engine blow-up for Marco Andretti that was almost identical to the one that eliminated him in Texas.

Pre-race forecasts of heavy storms proved largely unfounded, although the race was red-flagged for 26 minutes due to light rains halfway through the first stint.

Results - 300 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Engine           Time/Gap
 1.  Ryan Hunter-Reay    Andretti/Honda   2h01m58.8160s
 2.  Josef Newgarden     Fisher/Honda          +0.5814s
 3.  Tony Kanaan         Ganassi/Chevy         +1.0676s
 4.  Scott Dixon         Ganassi/Chevy         +2.7606s
 5.  Ed Carpenter        Carpenter/Chevy       +4.9819s
 6.  James Hinchcliffe   Andretti/Honda        +5.0135s
 7.  Graham Rahal        Rahal/Honda           +6.7976s
 8.  Helio Castroneves   Penske/Chevy          +7.1408s
 9.  Ryan Briscoe        Ganassi/Chevy         +7.1896s
10.  Charlie Kimball     Ganassi/Chevy         +7.6098s
11.  Simon Pagenaud      Schmidt/Honda         +7.7794s
12.  Carlos Munoz        Andretti/Honda        +7.8190s
13.  Justin Wilson       Coyne/Honda          +11.2612s
14.  Will Power          Penske/Chevy         +11.7947s
15.  Jack Hawksworth     Herta/Honda            -4 laps


     Juan Pablo Montoya  Penske/Chevy          280 laps
     Sebastian Saavedra  KV/Chevy              258 laps
     Marco Andretti      Andretti/Honda        229 laps
     Sebastien Bourdais  KV/Chevy              130 laps
     Carlos Huertas      Coyne/Honda            78 laps
     Mikhail Aleshin     Schmidt/Honda          47 laps
     Takuma Sato         Foyt/Honda             47 laps
  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Dixon leads all-Ganassi front row
Montoya tops practice at Iowa
Iowa IndyCar practice halted by rain