Hunter-Reay scores Father’s Day weekend win for Andretti in Milwaukee

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Ryan Hunter-Reay has mastered the Milwaukee Mile for the second year in a row in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

The Andretti Autosport driver took his third win at the Mile after a storming second half of the 250-lap Milwaukee IndyFest. On lap 198 he took the lead from Takuma Sato and on a restart with 29 laps to go, Hunter-Reay held off Helio Castroneves to secure his second win of the year.

“Man I did it for that little guy, Ryden, my son,” Hunter-Reay, who is celebrating his first Father’s Day weekend as a father, said to NBC Sports Network’s Jon Beekhuis in victory lane. “We found the balance and did what we had to do to win.”

Castroneves wheeled his PPG-sponsored Team Penske No. 3 Chevrolet to second from 17th on the grid.

“We were a little conservative and had to be patient, but it was a great job from the boys,” he told NBCSN’s Kevin Lee.

Will Power secured his first podium of the year in third. He tried a late move on Castroneves for second but was unable to complete the pass, probably better given Castroneves’ championship aspirations this season.

“That was close. We wanted to race him clean,” Power said to NBCSN’s Will Buxton. “I didn’t want to squeeze him out. We just keep chipping away and help as much as we can.”

After a race-long battle, E.J. Viso held off Andretti Autosport teammate James Hinchcliffe for fourth with Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato, Dario Franchitti, Justin Wilson and Tony Kanaan in the top 10.

Viso was in contention with Hunter-Reay for the win but had a pit stop issue and traffic bite him late in the race.

Sato had the race in the bag before the final caution for Ana Beatriz’s slight contact at Turn 4. The A.J. Foyt Racing driver had scythed through the field from 15th on the grid and also benefited from an earlier caution, but lost a lap after pitting before Beatriz’s contact.

Polesitter Marco Andretti’s race was stopped short with electrical issues, and he couldn’t deliver a storybook win in his father Michael’s Andretti Sports Marketing-related race on Father’s Day weekend. That said, Hunter-Reay’s win made him three-for-three in ASM races since 2012.

He closed on Castroneves for the points lead but the Brazilian still holds the edge, 299-283 unofficially, as the series heads to Iowa Speedway next week.

WEST ALLIS, Wis. – Results Saturday of the Milwaukee IndyFest IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.015-mile Milwaukee Mile, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (4) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
2. (17) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
3. (3) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
4. (5) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
5. (2) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
6. (11) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 250, Running
7. (15) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 250, Running
8. (23) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 250, Running
9. (13) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 249, Running
10. (7) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 249, Running
11. (8) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 249, Running
12. (9) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 249, Running
13. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 248, Running
14. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 248, Running
15. (18) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 248, Running
16. (24) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 247, Running
17. (21) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 246, Running
18. (12) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 245, Running
19. (19) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 242, Running
20. (1) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 176, Mechanical
21. (10) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 173, Mechanical
22. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 152, Mechanical
23. (16) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 146, Mechanical
24. (22) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 69, Contact

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 136.848
Time of Race: 01:51:15.2962
Margin of victory: 4.8059
Cautions: 4 for 29 laps
Lead changes: 11 among 6 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Andretti 1 – 61
Hunter-Reay 62 – 66
Power 67 – 68
Sato 69 – 90
Wilson 91
Viso 92 – 99
Sato 100 – 156
Hunter-Reay 157 – 163
Viso 164 – 165
Power 166 – 167
Sato 168 – 197
Hunter-Reay 198 – 250

Point Standings: Castroneves 299, Hunter-Reay 283, Andretti 249, Sato 223, Dixon 221, Kanaan 215, Pagenaud 212, Wilson 207, Hinchcliffe 206, Franchitti 192.

Valiant efforts from Hunter-Reay, Dixon come up just short at Road America

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Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon drove about as hard as they possibly could during Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix, and they both drove nearly perfect races.

Hunter-Reay took advantage of Will Power’s engine issues on the start to immediately jump into second, and stalked pole sitter and leader Josef Newgarden from there, often staying within only a couple car lengths of his gearbox.

Dixon, meanwhile, had a tougher chore after qualifying a disappointing 12th. Further, he was starting in the same lane as Will Power, and when Power had engine issues when the green flag waved, Dixon was one of several drivers who was swamped in the aftermath.

Scott Dixon had to come from deep in the field on Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix. Photo: IndyCar

However, as is his style, he quietly worked his way forward, running sixth after the opening round of pit stops, and then working his way up to third after the second round of stops.

It all meant that, after Lap 30, Newgarden, Hunter-Reay, and Dixon were nose-to-tail at the front, with the latter two in position to challenge for the win.

Yet, neither was able to do so. Hunter-Reay never got close enough to try to pass Newgarden, while Dixon couldn’t do so on either Hunter-Reay or Newgarden. And, neither driver went longer in their final stint – Dixon was actually the first of that group to pit, doing so on Lap 43, with Hunter-Reay and Newgarden pitting together one lap later.

And Newgarden pulled away in the final stint, winning by over three seconds, leaving Hunter-Reay and Dixon to finish second and third.

It was a somewhat bitter pill to swallow, with Hunter-Reay noting that he felt like he had enough to challenge for a win.

“I felt like we had the pace for (Newgarden), especially in the first two stints,” he asserted. “I really felt like it was going to be a really good race between us. Whether it be first, second, third, fourth stint – I didn’t know when it was going to come.”

He added that, if he could do it over again, he would have been more aggressive and tried to pass Newgarden in the opening stint.

“In hindsight, I should have pressured him a bit more in the first stint,” Hunter-Reay lamented. “We were focused on a fuel number at the time. Unfortunately that Penske fuel number comes into play, can’t really go hard.”

Dixon, meanwhile, expressed more disappointment in the result, asserting that qualifying better would have put him in a possibly race-winning position.

“I think had we started a little further up, we could have had a good shot at trying to fight for the win today,” he expressed.

The disappointment for Dixon also stems from the knowledge that his No. 9 PNC Bank Honda had the pace to win, especially longer into a run.

“The car was pretty good on the long stint,” he asserted. “I think for us the saving grace was probably the black tire stint two. We closed a hefty gap there. We were able to save fuel early in the first stint, which enabled us to go a lap longer than everybody, had the overcut for the rest of the race.

“I think speed-wise we were right there. Had a bit of a crack at Hunter-Reay on his out lap on the last stint there, but cooked it too much going into (Turn 14), got a bit loose, lost momentum. That would have been really the only chance of passing him.”

Dixon remains in the championship lead, however, by 45 points, while Hunter-Reay moved up to second, tied with Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi.

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