Ryan Hunter-Reay leads Chevy Sweep at Milwaukee
American Ryan Hunter-Reay, driving for Michael Andretti, the same Michael Andretti who came in to rescue this historic race, drove to a dominating victory Saturday in the Milwaukee Indyfest 225.
Hunter-Reay won over five other Chevy drivers to give Chevy a sweep of the first six positions after getting beaten by Honda teams the past three races.
Hunter-Reay passed Helio Castroneves for the lead with 84 laps to go and held on to win the by 5.1029 seconds.
Tony Kanaan was 2nd for KV Racing ahead of James Hinchcliffe, Oriol Servia and EJ Visio.
"I'm happy to be here in DHL Victory Circle! That was so much work. I think that was one of the most physical races I've ever driven," said Hunter-Reay.
"I was just hanging onto it the whole time. The car was awesome; the DHL / Sun Drop guys did a great job. Firestone does a great job of making these races racier and making it more interesting for the fans. The tires did fall off a bit, but they're so reliable, you have the grip when you need it, and it was there for me all the way to the end."
This is the sixth career Indy car victory for Hunter-Reay, a 31-year-old resident of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He has now won twice at Milwaukee, previously winning the 2004 Champ Car race by winning the pole and leading every lap.
This is his third win with Andretti Autosport, and is his third consecutive season with a victory. He extends his distinction of being the winningest active American driver in the IndyCar Series.
His previous IZOD IndyCar Series victories were: New Hampshire (2011/Andretti Autosport), Long Beach (2010/Andretti Autosport) and Watkins Glen (2008/Rahal Letterman Racing). He also has victories in the CART/Champ Car Series at Milwaukee and Surfer's Paradise.
After the race, INDYCAR officials acknowledged an error led to a drive through penalty against Scott Dixon, who had moved from 21st position into the top-10 before the call.
"Due to a glitch in technology, there was a discrepancy between the official race clock and the clock on the replay machine," INDYCAR President of Competition and IZOD IndyCar Series race director Beaux Barfield said. "Therefore the review of the jumped start was one lap off, leading Race Control to make the call on the wrong lap. We have informed the Ganassi team of this error and Race Control is taking every step necessary to address it going forward. The Race Control team will be meeting first thing Monday morning to review the issue and explore remedies in advance of the race at Iowa."
There were several incidents during the race that brought out the caution.
On lap 67 #78 De Silvestro spun in Turn 3.
"I just made a mistake. TK (Tony Kanaan) passed me and Oriol (Servia) tried to tuck behind him, and I just got in the marbles. It's just unfortunate. Sometimes you make mistakes; that's what happens."
On lap 94 Justin Wilson detonated his Honda and pulled off course on the frontstretch.
On lap 109 #15 Takuma Sato and #19 James Jakes make contact sending Sato spinning into the Turn 2 wall. Jakes also made contact with the SAFER Barrier.
On lap 194 early race leader Dario Franchitti spun and made hard left-side contact with the SAFER Barrier between Turns 3 and 4.
Will Power, who finished 12th, retained the IZOD IndyCar Series championship lead. Hinchcliffe moved into second (31 points back). Chevrolet-powered cars swept the podium.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 23 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Sukup 100 on June 22 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network as part of coverage of the Iowa Corn Indy 250. NBC Sport Network's coverage of the Firestone Indy Lights 100 is scheduled for 5 p.m., on June 21.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet, winner Milwaukee IndyFest): (About today's win): "It's amazing. First of all, thank you to all of the fans for coming out, filling a great number of seats in here. What a race. I know we would all have liked to see a little more passing, but from the car it was so busy, just trying to hang on to it. But getting a win for DHL and Sun Drop, it's unreal. Hanging on to those last few restarts were too much. I don't need that. That was grey area, for sure. (About winning an Andretti event): The script is perfect. This is an Andretti Sports Marketing event. (Team owner) Michael (Andretti) loves the sport and does a lot for it. Milwaukee and INDYCAR go hand-in-hand. This is the oldest racing facility in the country and we just won. It's awesome."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 GEICO /Mouser Electronics- KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, finished second): "I didn't have anything at the end for Ryan (Hunter-Reay), but great event, man. I love to see the stands as full as I've ever seen here. Thanks to Michael (Andretti) and his people who put this event back together. I love this place, hopefully the fans like it and great result for us." (About working through the field): "It was a long day, but this is typical Milwaukee. That's why I love this place. You've got to drive it. If you don't drive it, you never get it, so I'm extremely happy."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, finished third): "It's Milwaukee, man. That's why we love coming here, it's always a good show. And you know the rain delay through us for a bit of a loop. That first ten was a bit stale, there was no two grooves. We had to take some time to build that, but after that first stop it went good ol' fashioned Milwaukee. It was great short track racing, cars were falling off, guys were having to drive it. Great stops by the Go Daddy guys, and great car in clean air. A little bit rough in traffic, but when we needed to we could pick them off on some of those restarts, and just super happy for the team. Obviously Ryan here in winner's circle and another crop on the podium in a race that Michael took over and brought back to life, it means a lot for everybody. "
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet, finished fourth): "It was a good car, I have trust in my guys they always give me a great car. These two-day weekends are tough. You have to unload, but (we) not with the right set-up. The car wasn't even that bad. We had to change to car completely overnight. But we qualified 20th and moved up sixteen spots, not too bad." (About racing in Milwaukee): "Track was always like it is at Milwaukee, at first there was doubts about if we could pass here, but it turns out to be an awesome race at least from our perspective. I hope the fans are happy and they come back."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO-PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, finished fifth): "I'm happy for the weekend. I think KV Racing Technology had a pretty good and strong car. We definitely saw that. I'm real upset about this race. I think we could have won this race or finished on the podium. That's a no brainer. But once again the strategy didn't turn out to be in our way."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): ""I really don't know what happened on the restart where we got penalized. I think the one they waved off was the one we got out of line when EJ Viso was trying to restart at 20 mph. I was in first gear and when it went green, I went. I don't know what the issue was but I'm really looking forward to the explanation from INDYCAR. It's a shame for the Target team and that punishment is pretty harsh."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "Really tough day out there for the No.2 Hitachi Team Penske car. We completely missed the balance in the start of the race and we are not really sure why, but by the end of the race we were really strong after we changed the rear wing and aero balance. I think we ended as strong as anyone out there so it was a really positive finish. But unfortunately after going two laps down in the beginning we were just fighting for the small positions. Iowa is up next and we will get things back on track there."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): "We took a gamble today with the pit strategy in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental car. The car was running really well and we thought we could be aggressive with our plan. We definitely had a car that could win the race today but I am still happy with our result. I will take sixth place and look to do better next week at Iowa."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "We had a pretty good run going there, even though we got caught out a little bit on that first yellow. We were having an overheating issue, and through the yellow we couldn't get any clean air to get the thing cooled down. I think we had something jammed in the radiator. We pitted once to pick some things out of there, but I think the damage was already done at that point; once these things get up to a certain temperature they just shut down. We were running around in traffic all day, so we didn't have much clean air, and with the humidity so high here that didn't help. It's obviously just an unfortunate deal for us and a bummer for the entire National Guard Panther team."
DARIO FRANCHITI (No. 10 Cottonelle Honda): "I was on Ryan's inside and he just kept coming down there. I just don't think his spotter told him I was there. I had half a car on the rumble strip. The next lap I went in there and something broke in the back end of the car. The spine just snapped down. You actually see the car drop in the back there before it hit so I think the suspension broke. The Cottonelle car was not very good today unfortunately but we were making the best of it."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "The Verizon crew fought hard out there today. I thought we had a pretty good car but the restarts were really difficult. Not the worst result today but we expect to do better every time we come to race. We are still on top of the points, which is where we want to be, and now will look forward to Iowa."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "It was a tough day for the Service Central boys. Our car was good at the end but at the starting point it was a handful. I had several big moments but we got a little bit unlucky. We pitted, then it went yellow and we went a lap down, same sort of thing that's happened to us before in this season. We fought back and kept fighting through and had a couple good restarts at the end to get us into the top-10. The car came to me at the end of the race but unfortunately it was too little too late."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "Hopefully in the future, we'll qualify further up front and we won't have to pass so many cars. The team again gave me a good race car and I was able to be aggressive and drive up through the field. They were awesome on pit stops too. Just a great job by the whole team after being down to one chassis since Indy. It felt good to drive towards the front. I'm happy we got eighth today because it's a season best, but I thought we could have had a the top five. We got up to sixth before the last restart. But Marco checkered up in turn one and I had to hit the brakes. Nothing against him because I have been his spot before. It's a tough position for a lapped driver. I'm very happy that a Chevy is back in the winner's circle and I'm happy for Ryan too. I feel we have some momentum now after today's race and a strong test at Iowa. I think we can be very competitive next week at Iowa Speedway."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "The car was really good. It was a good race, but I wasted an opportunity to score a lot of points. I'm very disappointed in that factor. The HP guys did a really good job providing me a good car. We ran every lap, so I'll have good experience for next year. On the last stint, I was running with the leaders. Unfortunately, I think that's something we could have done all day long. But I didn't help my self in the pits there. (NOTE: On lap 60 during a green flag stop, Pagenaud missed his marks in his pit stall causing the team to move the car and costing valuable seconds in the pits.) I'm obviously not up to speed with an oval car in the pits. But, it's going to get better. As I learn ovals, I'm going to go through phases."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "It was a challenging race like it always is here at the Milwaukee Mile, but all credit goes to the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team. The guys did a good job in the pits, and they kept making the car better for me on the track. We got a little unlucky with one of those yellows and went a lap down. It was a good result as far as positive momentum, building back up and getting a clean finish. Now we'll focus on getting the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car ready for next weekend in Iowa."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Team Barracuda-BHA Honda): "Team Barracuda - BHA seems to never give up. We had very little time on the track here in Milwaukee and we made some changes today. Thanks to Todd [Malloy], who gave me a car to compete. It was nice to drive and a huge improvement from yesterday. There were some times when we were more competitive a couple times when back-markers tripped us up. That's Milwaukee style racing, although it's frustrating because I know we have even more potential. Makes me even more excited to get back in the Barracuda Networks car next weekend in Iowa."
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