Iowa IndyCar: Andretti's Ryan Hunter-Reay takes first win of 2015

Ryan Hunter-Reay ended an IndyCar season-long run of poor form with a victory at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night

Iowa IndyCar: Andretti's Ryan Hunter-Reay takes first win of 2015

The Andretti driver started in ninth, and began his move into the lead when he jumped from fifth to second with a great restart on lap 185.

That later turned into the lead when he emerged ahead of Josef Newgarden after the next round of stops, and from there on he capitalised on the clean air ahead to secure his third win at the venue in four years.

"It was going to be tough to beat everyone today, but this car was on rails at the end," he said.

"I was driving the snot out of it. It was loose and I just kept my foot on the floor. This is just amazing.

"We're having a tough year, but we got the thing into victory lane in one of the most competitive IndyCar seasons ever."

Newgarden, who led the most laps, remained clamped to Hunter-Reay's rear wing during the final stage, but he was unable to break out of the turbulence on the final restart and had to settle for second.

The pair finished 1-2 at the same race last year.

"It was tough," said Newgarden. "I really feared that if we were going to get into a shootout situation and we weren't leading it was going to be hard.

"You can't beat running around Iowa in an Indycar, it's unbelievably fun, but I'm disappointed."

Sage Karam completed an all-American podium - the first since the 2006 Indy 500 - with a swashbuckling final couple of stints, although the Ganassi rookie's aggression drew the ire of Ed Carpenter, who hunted the 20-year-old down in pitlane immediately after the race, following a particularly robust battle towards the end.

"I told him that he has no respect for anyone," Carpenter, who had to settle for sixth, said.

"If it wasn't for guys with experience driving with their heads on he would have crashed.

"I had a car that was good enough for third or fourth, and I got on the brakes and saved his butt and he got rewarded with the podium.

"He should have been penalised on the spot."

Karam was unfazed.

"He was just angry with my driving," he said.

"He says I squeezed him a few times. But it's the same way he drove me.

"This isn't go karts, this is IndyCar and we're professionals and we know each other's limits.

"Tough love for him; I don't know."

Graham Rahal secured a remarkable fourth from a race in which he fell two laps down with a puncture, recovered back onto the lead lap, lost another lap with a shifting problem, got back onto the lead lap again with the help of a lucky yellow, and then cut through the pack to finish within sight of the podium.

DRAMA FOR TITLE CONTENDERS

The RLL driver also moved up to second in the points after an evening of problems for all of the other championship contenders.

Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya appeared to open the door for his rivals early on, when he suffered a suspension failure and hit the wall on lap 10: his first DNF since this race last year.

However Montoya's crash was the precursor a remarkable chain of disasters: Tony Kanaan's potentially race-winning car vanished with a mechanical problem; Scott Dixon appeared primed to take a huge slice out of Montoya's points advantage but then suffered a broken upright; polesitter Helio Castroneves faded out of contention mid-way through the race.

Elsewhere, a number of other drivers were eliminated by single-car accidents including Stefano Coletti, Takuma Sato and Charlie Kimball, while Justin Wilson was lucky not to join their ranks after Pippa Mann took the air off his front wing and prompted a glancing blow against the outside wall.

RACE RESULTS:

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 300 2h03m50.3315s
2 Josef Newgarden CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 300 0.5046s
3 Sage Karam Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 300 2.8451s
4 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 300 4.6579s
5 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 300 6.8921s
6 Ed Carpenter CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 300 7.4884s
7 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 300 8.4296s
8 Ryan Briscoe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 300 10.5332s
9 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 300 11.8013s
10 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 300 12.1472s
11 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 300 13.2151s
12 Tristan Vautier Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 299 1 Lap
13 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 299 1 Lap
14 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 299 1 Lap
15 James Jakes Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 299 1 Lap
16 Gabby Chaves Bryan Herta Autosport Dallara/Honda 299 1 Lap
17 Justin Wilson Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 297 3 Laps
18 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 263 37 Laps
19 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 260 Contact
20 Stefano Coletti KV Racing Technology Dallara/Chevrolet 191 Contact
21 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 189 Mechanical
22 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 170 Contact
23 Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 136 Handling
24 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 9 Contact

DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Driver Points
1 Juan Pablo Montoya 445
2 Graham Rahal 403
3 Scott Dixon 397
4 Helio Castroneves 391
5 Will Power 390
6 Sebastien Bourdais 366
7 Marco Andretti 358
8 Josef Newgarden 352
9 Tony Kanaan 324
10 Simon Pagenaud 294
11 Carlos Munoz 281
12 Ryan Hunter-Reay 278
13 Charlie Kimball 275
14 Takuma Sato 240
15 James Jakes 213
16 Gabby Chaves 211
17 Jack Hawksworth 202
18 Sage Karam 172
19 Luca Filippi 161
20 Stefano Coletti 160
21 James Hinchcliffe 129
22 Tristan Vautier 123
23 Ryan Briscoe 108
24 Conor Daly 81
25 Ed Carpenter 75
26 Simona de Silvestro 66
27 Sebastian Saavedra 61
28 Pippa Mann 59
29 J.R. Hildebrand 57
30 Justin Wilson 51
31 Rodolfo Gonzalez 40
32 Francesco Dracone 38
33 Townsend Bell 32
34 Carlos Huertas 31
35 Alex Tagliani 27
36 Bryan Clauson 10
36 James Davison 10
36 Oriol Servia 10
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