Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay Leads 1-2 American Finish, Wins ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway …

Posted: August 24, 2015 in Uncategorized
The podium of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden, and Juan Pablo Montoya hoist their trophies in Victory Lane following the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway -- Photo by Chris Jones

The podium of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden, and Juan Pablo Montoya hoist their trophies in Victory Lane following the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway — Photo by Chris Jones

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Ryan Hunter-Reay led a 1-2 American finish ahead of Josef Newgarden in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, and Juan Pablo Montoya‘s third-place finish extended his championship points lead heading into the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale August 30th.

Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, was measured in his after-race comments: “This team has given my great race cars over the years and this was one of them. We came through the field many times today. I hope the fans enjoyed the show because it was fun in the race car. We knifed through the field about five times, I think, and there wasn’t anybody out there that we couldn’t get around. It was a pleasure to drive today. Obviously, first and foremost, we’re thinking about Justin Wilson. With heads exposed and when you get flying debris, it’s a bad luck deal. Our thoughts are with him. I know him and his family well, they’re great friends of ours. Really, really just thinking about Justin right now.”

In the case of Newgarden, driver of the No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, who had led 47 of the 200 lap race noted:  “It was a long, tough day in the car. CFH Racing did a great job working on the thing, tuning it, making it better. Happy with our result, but I’m just thinking about Justin (Wilson) right now and hoping he’s OK.”

There were 12 different drivers to lead laps – half of the field – in the 200-lap race on the 2.5-mile triangular oval and 13 cars retired because of contact or mechanical issues.

There also were 12 caution periods – the 11th yellow flag displayed on Lap 180 for the single-car crash of race leader Sage Karam in Turn 1. Debris from the incident hit the trailing Justin Wilson‘s No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda. Wilson was transported by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pa., with a severe head injury. Wilson, 37, from Sheffield, England, is currently in a coma and in critical condition while undergoing further evaluation.  Karam, from nearby Nazareth, Pa., was transported by ground to the same hospital for examination of a right foot injury. INDYCAR will update the drivers’ conditions as details become available.

The Karam/Wilson incident can be viewed here —->>> Sage Karam / Justin Wilson Incident

Six title contenders remain, and with the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on August 30th carrying double base points, the title remains up for grabs. Montoya, who has stood atop the standings since winning the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in March, entered the third 500-mile race of the season with a nine-point lead over the surging Graham Rahal.

Graham Rahal at Pocono Raceway -- Photo by Chris Owens

Graham Rahal at Pocono Raceway — Photo by Chris Owens

Rahal’s run to further close the championship points gap was brought to a dramatic close when he and Coyne Racing’s Tristan Vautier collided while three abreast coming out of the backstretch. Rahal was incensed when he exited his car and confronted Vautier on the track. Rahal offered these comments once back in the paddock: “Obviously, I’m frustrated. We had a pretty good race car today. It was slow initially but we were working on it and we got it pretty good. Then we had an issue in the pits that lost us a bunch of spots, so we were trying to work our way back up. Vautier is not known as the smartest guy and you see why. It’s just a shame for this Steak ‘n Shake team going into this championship second in the points right now. This one hurts. One race to go and this puts a big, big dent in things. (Justin) Wilson and I were coming through Turn 2. There were a lot of guys driving pretty aggressively and Wilson lost momentum and I just stuck it inside of him and we ran from (Turn) 2 down to 3 together, and then Vautier just decided that he wanted to join the party there at the last moment and unfortunately just punted us. He says I turned in on him, but there’s not any space. We’re already two wide, he knows that, he sees that. It just hurts us. As I said to him “You know I’m in the championship hunt for Honda. Why would you do something like that?” He has no answers. We didn’t have the best of days going with the error in the pits, but I knew my guys had gotten a good stop and we were going to fight our way back into this. We were only 90 laps into a 200-lap race. We’re down but we’re not out. We’ve had a good year, nothing to be ashamed about. We’ll go to Sonoma in attack mode.”

The day's racing brought about an abundunce of side by side racing. At one point, IndyCar drivers positioned themselves seven-wide across the Pocono Raceway track -- Photo by Bret Kelley

The day’s racing brought about an abundunce of side by side racing. At one point, IndyCar drivers positioned themselves seven-wide across the Pocono Raceway track — Photo by Bret Kelley

Montoya heads to the 2.385-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course with a 34-point advantage over the third-year Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver, whose car was involved in contact on a Lap 93 restart. Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Newgarden also remain eligible for the Astor Cup.

“We took our time and were smart,” said Montoya, who qualified a season-low 19th in the No. 2 Verizon team Penske Chevrolet. “I think we had a car that could win the race, but it wasn’t worth risking it (with title contenders running behind him). We did what we needed to do today.”

Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport, won for the second time this season and 16th time in his Indy car career. Newgarden, also a two-time winner this season in the No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, earned his fourth podium finish of the season.

Power, the reigning series champion, finished fourth in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and Carlos Munoz was fifth in the No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda for Andretti Autosport. 

ABC Supply @ Pocono Raceway 500 Box Score

ABC Supply @ Pocono Raceway 500 Box Score

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