Ryan Hunter-Reay Wins at Toronto

Michael Andretti won seven times as a driver in Toronto. Today he got his first as team owner, as Ryan Hunter-Reay won his third straight race.

On a day where Scott Dixon and Will Power suffered heartbreak, Hunter-Reay took advantage and kept his winning streak alive. Dixon finished 25th after his engine failed ten laps into the race, and Power saw his day come to an end when he and Josef Newgarden made contact in turn 7. He had a flat tire and front wing damage that ultimately landed him a 15th place finish in today’s race.

Coming into today’s race in Toronto, Power had a three-point lead in the championship standings, but now Hunter-Reay leads him by 34 points heading into Edmonton. Helio Castroneves is 46 points back in third, while Dixon slips back to fourth, 54 points behind.

Ten different teams represented the top 10.

Though Hunter-Reay sat atop the podium for the third consecutive week, there were some fresh faces joining him today. Charlie Kimball scored a career-best second place finish, while Mike Conway recorded the first podium finish for AJ Foyt Racing since the 2010 race in Brazil.

Ryan joins Dan Wheldon as the only Andretti Autosport drivers with back-to-back-to-back wins.

Hunter-Reay took the lead on lap 57 and had nearly an eight-second lead on the field with ten laps remaining. That’s when all hell broke loose. It was a sour day for many of the big names. Hometown hopeful James Hinchcliffe’s race ended on lap 40 when he suffered mechanical problems. He finished 22nd. Justin Wilson came home 21st after he hit the wall and broke a toe link on his car.

Graham Rahal suffered a 23rd place finish while Ryan Briscoe was 19th, Dario Franchitti 17th, Marco Andretti 16th, and Sebastien Bourdais 14th. It was the drivers who finished 12th and 13th that had everyone talking afterwards. Newgarden was trying to get around Simon Pagenaud for third, when Pagenaud chopped him, forcing Newgarden nearly head on into the wall. Pagenaud was given a 30-second penalty for blocking, but the punishment didn’t seem to fit the crime.

On the restart with three laps remaining, Sebastien Bourdais got put into the wall going into turn one. A few seconds later, Briscoe, Andretti, Pagenaud and Ed Carpenter all got piled up in turn three.

The top ten finishers had a much different look. Tony Kanaan finished fourth after serving a controversial drive through penalty, and Oriol Servia rounded out the top five. Positions six through ten belonged to Castroneves, JR Hildebrand, James Jakes, Takuma Sato, and Alex Tagliani.

After going nine races without the Push to Pass system, it made its return this weekend. There were mixed reviews, but after seeing so much passing without it, we saw just five lead changes today.

The next event on the IndyCar schedule is the Edmonton Indy race in Alberta, Canada in two weeks. Just five races remain in the season, and the race to the championship just keeps getting hotter. One thing is certain; we will have a new Series Champion in 2012.

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