Hunter-Reay wins at Milwaukee for the third time
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident earned his second consecutive victory in the Milwaukee IndyFest, passing race leader Takuma Sato on Lap 198 of 250 and going on to win by 4.809 seconds over Helio Castroneves and led a Chevy sweep of the top-5.
Will Power finished third. E.J. Viso and James Hinchcliffe -- Andretti Autosport teammates to Hunter-Reay -- also were in the top five. The last back-to-back winner at Milwaukee was Tony Kanaan in 2006-07, when he was driving for the Andretti team.
Last June, Hunter-Reay won at the historic Milwaukee Mile to jump-start his championship drive. He continued with victories at Iowa Speedway and Toronto, and secured the title in the season finale by three points over Power.
This is Hunter-Reayâs third win at The Milwaukee Mile (2004, â12, â13) and second win of the season (Barber) and his 11th career Indy car win.
The third-generation driver had paced the first 61 laps of the 250-lap race until Andretti Autosport teammate and eventual race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay overtook him at Lap 62. Six laps later, things got worse for Andretti on his first stop of the afternoon as the fuel probe failed to release from his car, costing him track position.
Then on Lap 98, the bottom fell out as Andretti suddenly lost power and rolled onto the apron between Turns 1 and 2 before coming to a stop on the backstretch to bring out the yellow. The car was taken back to pit road and after sorting out the electrical problem, Andretti rejoined the race 42 laps off the pace to try and get as many championship points possible. He eventually finished 20th.
âWe came here for a win and had a car to do it,â said Andretti, who is now third in the standings at 50 points behind leader Helio Castroneves. âWe fell back after a delay in the pits and then had an electrical issue â I didnât have any idea of what happened at the time. The voltage went straight down and I lost all kinds of power; I couldnât shift, the clutch didnât work. We came back for all the points we could.â
He entered the race second in the championship standings. A week earlier at Texas Motor Speedway, he started second, led 57 laps and finished fifth to remain within tagging distance of Castroneves (22 points).
"It's unfortunate... We came here for a win and had a car to do it. We fell back after a delay in the pits and then had an electrical issue - I didn't have any idea of what happened at the time. The voltage went straight down and I lost all kinds of power; I couldn't shift, the clutch didn't work. We came back for all the points we could. We've been strong at Iowa in the past so we will move on and try to get points back next weekend."
Andretti has won and finished second the past two years at Iowa Speedway.
It was smiles and high-fives in Takuma Sato's pit Saturday after Milwaukee IndyFest. He was seventh. Good. Not great.
"It's been a long time since we had a good race at Milwaukee," said Larry Foyt, team director for A.J. Foyt Racing.
"Just to come here and be in a position like that to lead the race and have a shot at winning ... the track just went away from us at the end and we got real loose, but Takuma did a great job to hang onto it."
Sato led a race-high 109 laps and gave the team its best finish at the Mile since A.J. Foyt drove, a fifth in 1988. Foyt, winner of four Indy-style races at Milwaukee, didn't travel to the race because of health problems.
"The middle stint we were really walking away," said Sato, who built a lead of more than 4 seconds. "It was so comfortable. Everything was under control. Everything felt OK. The tires lasted, no problem, for that stint. Then I don't know why suddenly we lost (grip) the last stint."
Up next is the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by DEKLAB, where Andretti has won and finished second the past two years.
A FANTASTIC PERFORMANCE ESPECIALLY IN THE LAST THIRD OF THE RACE:
WERE YOU AWARE OF THE STRATEGY HELIO (CASTRONEVES) AND TAKUMA (SATO) WERE ON?
HOW COOL IS IT TO GET TO CELEBRATE IN VICTORY LANE WITH THE LITTLE GUY?
ON HIS RACE:
âThe team just was awesome all day. We had varying levels of grip the whole race and different levels of balance and man, we just stuck with it. And in the end, we knew what we had to do to win. And what a race it was. Iâm going to drink a lot of SunDrop tonight, Iâll tell you that.â
WE ARE SHOWING VIDEO OF YOU AND MARCO. YOU WERE HESITANT AT FIRST, BUT THEN YOU WENT BY YOUR TEAMMATE:
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Owner, Andretti Autosport): âItâs just a huge win for us for sure. Last year, this win kicked started Ryanâs year, hopefully itâs going to do it again. He did a great job and to win our race, the one that we promoted, is just awesome. So happy for everybody on this team and so proud of everybody, and all the cars ran really competitive today and all weekend. We got a lot to be proud of.â (What is it about this track that allows Andretti cars perform so well) I donât know, we had a good setup last year, especially Ryan, and we started there with Ryanâs set up. It seemed to work again, so it was just one of those things, you know, everything clicked right off the trailer which you need to do nowadays because you donât have a lot of practice, so we had a good feeling after yesterday.
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda): âItâs been a couple tough weeks in a row here for the Barracuda Racing guys. Iâm disappointed for our fans and our supporters at Barracuda Networks, Bowers and Wilkins, Oasis, Curb Records, and Honda. We will come back next week stronger.â
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): âThe National Guard Chevy was handling pretty good for us, but the gears were a bit long, so that was hurting us as we tried to race people off the corner. But the Panther Racing crew did a great job in the pits all day. Weâre continuing to build on our continuity, and weâll continue to get better working together. The plan is to race as many events in IndyCar as we can this year with Panther, so weâll get them next time.â
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet):"It was a very strong race in the beginning for us. The #6 TrueCar Dragon Racing car was keeping a solid pace with the front runners. The crew did an amazing job on the pit stops but unfortunately we had a mistake calling me into pit and that costs us positions and we couldn't recover from that. I a bit disappointed with the position but its a good position for us after a rough start to the season. I defiantly want more and I will not settle for 13th position. Iowa we will be looking a lot stronger and carrying a lot of momentum, so we will stay focused and go for a strong race."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "It was a disappointing day for the #7 McAfee Dragon Racing car. We had a pretty good race going with a very strong start and I was passing a lot of cars making it up to 9th position. Then we had a fuel pump issue running out of fuel with still 4 gallons in the tank. During the first pit stop the wheel gun was not retrieved properly and ended up damaging the suspension and after that the car was never the same. We were 2 laps down and our day was heading south, I was trying to hang onto the car and after our final pit stop with new tires the car was loose for no reason. At that point I knew this day was not going to end well, so we brought the car in and parked it."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): âI think we went down a road earlier in the year and now weâre just trying to regroup and find our way. Maybe weâre lacking confidence in our changes with the car but weâll work hard and get better. We had a good day but went back and forth on some things. We had understeer in the middle of the corner and the car snapped coming off. We had a bit better car then we showed. I got ran wide on the restart by Kanaan and didnât quite agree with it but then again what can you do.â
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Kimberly Clark Honda): âObviously we didnât have a great qualifying effort and then we took the engine change penalty before the race. We started in the back, made some good progress, but it was difficult to pass. The guys made good calls to keep me in the hunt but keeping the car pointed straight was a challenge. To pass people was very tough. The cars are so close, so the series might be a victim of their own success right now. We need to start allowing something to differentiate when guys get it right and wrong. Great to be here as always at the Mile. Great crowd and great event.â
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): âWhat an eventful and exciting race it was. We slowly started to move up through the field and on every pit stop we adjusted on the car and then the car started working really well. By mid race the ABC Supply car was beautiful and I was so enjoying driving it. The car was so strong in clean air and very strong in traffic as well. We were really happy with the whole balance of the car in the middle stint, but then unfortunately there was such a sudden loss of the rear grip towards the end of the race and I got high and lost track position. We thought there was an issue so we decided to pit as soon as our pit window opened and then try to charge back with fresh tires. We were confident we could do it. But then the yellow came out and that was very bad timing for us because it put us behind those who hadnât pitted yet. They were able to pit and get ahead of us which is why we lined up in 7th. Then they had fresher tires too so it was really tough to pass them back. The boys did a great job with the pit stops all day long and I thought we could have brought a smile to A.J. and we nearly did. It was still a great race, but it was so disappointing in the end. Really a shame.â
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): âIt was a longer day. The car started off pretty sketchy but we worked hard on it and we did get it better. I think that at the end we were competitive and if we had had a better starting position, I think that would have helped us considerably. Without a doubt we still have work to do. I think the guys did a great job, everybody is working awfully hard. Sixteenth isnât what we want, everybody knows that. We want to see progress and after Texas that is progress.â
JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): âIt was a disappointing day generally. We struggled with the balance of the car. We thought we had made some changes but it wasnât quite where we wanted it to be so it was a long day. Iâm looking forward to Iowa next week. I have always been pretty quick there so hopefully we can bounce back.â
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzyâs Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): âThat was a long day for us. I thought we were going to be good after the early stages. We were able to work our way pretty far up the charts ( to fifth from 20th starting position). I slid a little on our second stop and I missed my marks. So we lost a couple of spots then. I got loose on a restart and lost a few more spots. We were just loose that entire stint after being good early. Then I got in the marbles and hit the wall in turn four. And it just got away from us from there. Itâs so disappointing because it looked like we were going to have such a good day. At the end, it feels like a missed opportunity today. Weâll regroup and be ready for Iowa next week. Hope for a strong run there.â
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet): "Certainly it was a great day for us. Starting from the back, it was tough. Yesterday I stayed late talking to Jonathan (Diuguid), my engineer, on what we were going to do with the car. It was tough, but today it definitely paid off. We were a little conservative, and we had to be patient. In the end, it was a great job by the PPG boys. It's not a win, but you know what, I'm very, very happy."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "That was close (with Helio). I wanted to race him very cleanly because he's leading the championship. I was like "Man, I don't want to take you out." Still a good result for Team Penske. Helio (Castroneves) continues to get good points, and it's cool to get the No. 12 Verizon car up on the podium. We've just got to keep chipping away and in the meantime, I'm going to help out Helio as much as I can. If I can beat him, I will and make some hay on the championship."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Citgo Chevrolet): "It was a good result for the whole group, the whole Andretti Autosport Team. It was a fun day, especially the final restart. That was super-fun."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): "Any time you can get a top-five finish, especially with how competitive this field is, it's a good day for the GoDaddy car. I feel like I spent half the day just trying to get around the lap traffic."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet): "It was a very difficult race for us, We had to battle all day long, but just didn't have the pace. We finished in the top-10 so I will take those points. Now we move on to Iowa where hopefully we can have a better finish."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "It wasn't a good day. It was a rough one. And it stinks sometimes because you don't have the package, but we'll keep working hard. There's definitely no quit in the team and we'll keep trucking away for the next one."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): "The car was loose from the start and then it just took off. We made contact with the wall. The guys changed the rear wing and we went back out, but I don't know if it was damage from the crash or what, but it really wasn't drivable after that. I feel bad for my Nuclear Clean Air Energy sponsors that we had such a short race, but we just weren't ever able to get the car fixed right."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "The National Guard Chevy was handling pretty good for us, but the gears were a bit long, so that was hurting us as we tried to race people off the corner. But the Panther Racing crew did a great job in the pits all day. We're continuing to build on our continuity, and we'll continue to get better working together. The plan is to race as many events in IndyCar as we can this year with Panther, so we'll get them next time."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "I have mixed feelings about today's race. I really felt like we had a good car. We were running in the top-6 early on with really strong re-starts, but we finished 12th. I don't quite understand. I think we had an issue in the pits and some problems with strategy which dropped us back. It's a shame because the HP car was really fast. We made a lot of improvement on the car but this is costly on our championship. It's a long championship though so we'll bounce back and try to do better in Iowa."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "There are definitely a lot of lessons to be learned that we'll take from today. We just have to figure out what they are and make the most of them moving forward. We're looking forward to making our way to Iowa so we can make the changes and we'll go racing."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): "It was electrical, but I don't really have an idea, I mean, maybe an alternator? It just...the volts just went straight down, and I lost all types of power. I couldn't shift, the clutch didn't work. Unfortunately I have to go out and be 'that guy' if we can fix it. We don't know yet." Post-race Quote: "It's unfortunate... We came here for a win and had a car to do it. We fell back after a delay in the pits and then had an electrical issue - I didn't have any idea of what happened at the time. The voltage went straight down and I lost all kinds of power; I couldn't shift, the clutch didn't work. We came back for all the points we could. We've been strong at Iowa in the past so we will move on and try to get points back next weekend."
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