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IndyCar: Iowa – Hunter-Reay wins third of last four at Iowa  #ForzaJules

Photo: Shawn Gritzmacher

Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske, Chevy) won the pole after starting last in the field at Milwaukee. He came into the race third in po with four races to go, 68 behind teammate Juan Pablo Montoya (#2) in first and 14 behind Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevy) for second. Castroneves  held a 1-point lead on Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Honda) in fourth, who in turn was just 1 point ahead of Will Power (#1 Penske) in fifth.

Tony Kanaan (#10 Ganassi) started on the outside or Row 1, followed by Montoya, Dixon, Simon Pagenaud (#22 Penske), and Power. Kanaan and Dixon ran 1-2 during Lap 4 on the  7/8-mile circuit. Montoya hit the wall during Lap 10 with a broken suspension. The green flag flew to start Lap 25, but yellow came  out before crossing the start-finish again, following contact between Rahal, Charlie Kimball (#83 Ganassi), and rookie Stefano Coletti (#4 KV Racing Technologies, Chevy)

Restart came on Lap 36. The Top 3 remained Kanaan, Dixon, Castroveves through Lap 65 (of 300), Castroneves taking second one lap later and moving to lead by Lap 74. Kanaan ran second followed by Josef Newgarden (#67 CFH Racing, Chevy). The leaders came in for their first scheduled pit stops during Laps 81-84.

Sebastian Bourdais led the race, followed by Kimball and rookie Gabby Chavez (#98 Bryan Herta Autosport, Honda), the three running a different pit strategy from the initial lead pack, having pitted under caution. Newgarden was fighting Castroneves for the lead during Lap 107 after Bourdais, et al, pitted, when the race’s third caution came out following contact with the wall by Justin Wilson (#25 Andretti Autosport, Honda).

Newgarden, Castroneves, and Kanaan all pitted, leaving pit row in that order and returning to competition 1-2-3.Green-flag competition resumed to start Lap 121. Kanaan started to drop on Lap 126, Dixon moving into third. Kanaan retook the spot four laps later. At Lap 137 the Top 5 were Castroneves, Newgarden, Kanaan, Dixon, and Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti).

Lap 149 had Castroneves lead over Newgarden out to 2 sec. Newgarden, however, took the lead during Lap 160. The caution flew again during Lap 172 as Kimball hit the outside wall. The leaders pitted, returning to action Newgarden, Castroneves, Kanaan. The Lap-185 restart saw Kanaan move to second and Hunter-Reay to third. Hunter-Reay took second one lap later.

 Kanaan pulled into the pits and had the car shutdown with an electrical problem. The yellow returned on Lap 196 with Coletti hitting the wall. Newgarden led Hunter-Reay and Dixon under the caution. The green flew to start Lap 206 with the running order remaining the same. Dixon slowed on track during Lap 230, bringing his car into the pits, with Carlos Munoz (#26 Andretti) moving into third.

Rookie Sage Karam (#8), the sole remaining Ganassi entry, moved into second during Lap 240, passing Munoz as Hunter-Reay made his last pit stop. Newgarden led by 3 sec on Lap 245. Karam pitted during Lap 248, taking more than 11 sec. Newgarden came in two laps later. Rahal led on pit cycle after 258 laps, followed by Hunter-Reay, Newgarden, Karam, and Munoz.

A new caution period began during Lap 263 as Takuma Sato (#14 AJ Foyt Enterprises, Honda) hit the wall. Rahal pitted under the yellow, moving Carpenter to fifth. Competition resumed for Lap 278, Munoz moving into third. Karam took third from Munoz with 7 laps to go.

Hunter-Reay took the win, his third in the last four Iowa races and Andretti’s sixth straight. Newgarden finished second followed by Karam, Rahal, and Munoz.

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