Ryan Hunter-Reay Wins at Milwaukee

Much was made of Andretti Sports Marketing’s rescue of the famed Milwaukee Mile earlier in February. After putting on an exciting race in an amazing atmosphere, Michael Andretti’s team took two of the three podium spots, with Ryan Hunter-Reay getting his sixth career win.

Tony Kanaan finished five seconds behind Hunter-Reay, and James Hinchcliffe sealed a dream weekend for Michael’s team. Oriol Servia did what he has done all season long; start in the rear and finish in the top five. He finished fourth after starting 20th, and EJ Viso completed the top five.

After being bitten by the bad luck bug at Texas, Hunter-Reay decided it was time to shave his beard. He told the media that he didn’t have an injector problem at Texas, it was a facial problem. He took the lead on lap 142 and never surrendered it. He not only captured his second win at the Milwaukee Mile, but the victory also moved him into the top five of the championship standings.

Will Power had a quiet day, but was able to retain his lead in the championship because of the problems the Target Chip Ganassi teams had. Dario Franchitti had something snap on the rear of his car towards the end of the race and slammed the outside wall. The defending race winner started on the pole for the second straight year, but couldn’t do much in traffic. Power finished 11th, Dixon 12th, and Franchitti 19th.

Scott Dixon’s luck was also bad, but in a different way. He was given a drive through penalty for jumping a restart, which was obviously a mistake given the countless replays we were shown. IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield acknowledged after the race that officials made a mistake. He said a failure in their timing and scoring system caused them to look at the wrong replay.

Barfield said ”It was obviously the wrong call, based on the reality of the situation.”

While Barfield said Dixon’s team was “very gracious” and “understanding” of the situation, it has to hurt knowing what could have been. Dixon slipped back to third in the championship, as Hinchcliffe moved into second with his podium finish today.

It was a successful return for IndyCar to the oldest track on the schedule. This coming off of an exceptional race at Texas last weekend has IndyCar buzzing. Shortly after the race, IndyCar was trending up to number three in the U.S. Next Saturday’s race at Iowa is sure to help, especially with the three heat races that will set the field for the night race.

Perhaps the best news came shortly before the green flag flew, when Andretti announced that the series would be back again next year, the weekend of June 14, 15. ”We’re going to be back here next year, and hopefully for a long time after that.”

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