NEWTON, Iowa – Ryan Hunter-Reay blew past the field with two laps to go and won the IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday for his first victory since the Indianapolis 500.
It was the fifth straight win in Iowa for Andretti Autosport, and the second in three years for Hunter-Reay.
Hunter-Reay hadn’t led a lap since Indianapolis, and he spent most of Saturday’s race far from contention. But he got new tires on a late pit stop and stormed past Tony Kanaan for his third victory in 2014.
Josef Newgarden finished second, followed by Target Chip Ganassi teammates Kanaan and Scott Dixon. Ed Carpenter was fifth.
Helio Castroneves finished eighth, taking sole possession of the series points lead.
Kanaan started on the front row with Dixon, the pole sitter, following promising qualifying sessions for a team that has struggled all year.
Down the stretch, the only question was which of the Ganassi drivers would break a season-long skid.
No one saw Hunter-Reay coming.
Hunter-Reay surprised the field following the night’s last caution, snapping a miserable six-race stretch for one of the top drivers in the series.
Once again, Team Penske walked away from Iowa’s .875-mile bull ring empty-handed.
Penske entered the weekend with three of the series’ top four drivers; Castroneves, Will Power and the surging Juan Pablo Montoya. But Penske had struck out in each of its previous seven trips to Iowa – and Power (ninth) and Montoya (19th) started from less than optimal positions.
Power finished 14th.
Montoya slammed into a wall after an incident with Ed Carpenter and failed to finish the race for the first time this season. IndyCar reviewed the sequence and took no action, but Carpenter apologized after dooming Montoya to a 16th-place finish.
Keselowski takes Nationwide race
In Loudon, New Hampshire, Brad Keselowski had a couple of impressive performances at New Hampshire. It’s the victory celebration that again gave him fits.
Keselowski topped all the fields Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, including a dominant run in his Nationwide Series victory. Keselowski also led the speed charts during both Sprint Cup practices. Throw in the pole for the Nationwide race and that made the Team Penske driver a neat 4 for 4.
Well a hell of a Saturday, Keselowski said.
His only hiccup came when he dropped the American flag out of his No. 22 Ford. The flag rested on the track before it was retrieved by an official to let the victory celebration continue.
Keselowski still needs work on his victory laps. He needed four stitches to close a wound he received during his Victory Lane celebration in the Sprint Cup race at Kentucky. He tried to open the bottle of champagne, and the bottle broke and cut his hand.