Ryan Hunter-Reay wins in Baltimore and forces title decider

  • Monday 3rd September, 2012 9:01am
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©

Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates at Baltimore

Australia’s Will Power will have to try and secure his first IndyCar title at the final race of the season at Fontana in California, after rival Ryan Hunter-Reay took his fourth victory of the season on the streets of Baltimore.

Hunter-Reay made up 20 points on Power, who finished sixth in the 75-lap race and takes a 17-point lead into the final on 15 September at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval.

Hunter-Reay overtook Australia’s Ryan Briscoe for the lead on a Lap 70 restart. The move had Team Penske calling for a review into what they called a jumpstart on the race leader.

A full-course caution on the same lap for a four-car pileup in Turn 4 gave Briscoe, who won a week earlier at Sonoma, another shot. But Hunter-Reay used the last of his 90 seconds of push to pass on the Lap 73 restart and went on to a 1.4391-second win over Briscoe.

“We still have a shot,” said Hunter-Reay.

“We all want it bad enough; we can go get this thing. The team deserves it; it’s a matter of if we can put it together.”

Hunter-Reay has four Indy car oval victories, including two this year (Milwaukee and Iowa). Power’s only oval victory came in 2011 on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway.

“I knew it would be a day like this. It never comes easy,” said Power, who earned the three bonus points for earning the pole and leading the most laps (22).

“We just have to do our best and fight like a dog till the end. We’ll come out swinging.”

Helio Castroneves and two-time series champion Scott Dixon remain mathematically eligible for the title.

Simon Pagenaud, who a week earlier clinched the Rookie of the Year award, finished third for the second time in the past three races and Dixon was fourth in his 200th Indy car start. Rubens Barrichello’s car moved Power to the left in Turn 1 of the final restart and he went on to claim fifth.

Strategy was a major player in the race with Power having the fastest car, but a decision to swap to intermediate rain tyres on lap 17 after a brief shower put him on a different strategy to Hunter-Reay who remained out on the ‘red’ slicks.

Power and others pitted on Lap 27 for the alternate tyres, and they also had to make a fuel stop on Lap 57. Hunter-Reay completed the race on two stops (the second on Lap 53).

“I can’t describe how nerve-racking that is when it rains on a street circuit and you’re on slicks and you know the championship is on the line,” Hunter-Reay said.

“If you get through this thing, you’re going to have a great race. Unbelievable emotions in the car, just trying to tip toe through some of those corners.

“We thought that it was just going to sprinkle and that I would have to live through a little bit of a wet track and hopefully that sprinkle would end, and it did. We never came in for rain tires. I think that was absolutely critical to our win today.”

Results – 75 laps:

1.Ryan Hunter-ReayAndrettiChevrolet2h09m02.9522s
2.Ryan BriscoePenskeChevrolet+1.4391s
3.Simon PagenaudSchmidtHonda+3.0253s
4.Scott DixonGanassiHonda+3.9281s
5.Rubens BarrichelloKVChevrolet+5.0450s
6.Will PowerPenskeChevrolet+5.7467s
7.Oriol ServiaPanther/DRRChevrolet+7.5913s
8.Alex TaglianiHertaHonda+7.7701s
9.EJ VisoKVChevrolet+8.8651s
10.Helio CastronevesPenskeChevrolet+9.0843s
11.Graham RahalGanassiHonda+10.2963s
12.JR HildebrandPantherChevrolet+17.1591s
13.Dario FranchittiGanassiHonda+1 lap*
14.Marco AndrettiAndrettiChevrolet+1 lap
15.James HinchcliffeAndrettiChevrolet+2 laps
16.Mike ConwayFoytHonda+2 laps
17.Justin WilsonCoyneHonda+3 laps
DNFCharlie KimballGanassiHonda65 laps
DNFBruno JunqueiraFisherHonda64 laps
DNFTony KanaanKVChevrolet52 laps
DNFTakuma SatoRahalHonda50 laps
DNFSimona de SilvestroHVMLotus38 laps
DNFSebastien BourdaisDragonChevrolet32 laps
DNFJames JakesCoyneHonda31 laps
DNFEd CarpenterCarpenterChevrolet7 laps


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