South Florida Stalwart: Hunter-Reay Wins Indy Race 4

Career Victory No.2 for South Florida's Hunter-Reay

South Florida's Ryan Hunter-Reay won his second career IndyCar Series race at Long Beach. His first victory since Watkins Glen in 2008 and the first since the death of his Mother (photo courtesy: Donald Miralle, Getty Images Sport)

Ryan Hunter-Reay, pulled double-duty at Long Beach this weekend, running in both the IZOD IndyCar Series for Andretti Autosport and in the American Le Mans Series. He also pulled down some major hardware, finding Victory Lane for the second time in his IndyCar Series career. And now, for the first time in his young career, the 29-year-old Ft. Lauderdale resident is proving a contender for the IndyCar Championship.

"Man, that was awesome," said Hunter-Reay, who led 64 of the 85 laps at Long Beach. "The car was so much fun to drive—some of the most fun I've had in a race car because it was handling so well. This team has done such a great job."

Through four of the 17 IndyCar Series races—which culminates with the Championship finale at his “home track” of Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 2—Hunter-Reay stands third in the points standings, just 43 points behind Team Penske driver Will Power and one point behind fellow South Florida-resident Helio Castroneves. For tickets to see the crowning of the 2010 IndyCar Champion at Homestead-Miami, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call toll free (866) 409-RACE.

Hunter-Reay joined Andretti Autosport on a partial ride this season with the hopes of it evolving into a full-season ride—assuming available funding—and his victory at Long Beach may go a long way in securing just that. It is Hunter-Reay's second Top 3 finish of the season (Sao Paulo) and his second overall victory in the IndyCar Series (2008 at Watkins Glen for Rahal-Letterman Racing).

"Obviously this race is definitely going to help in terms of what we need to do to get him over the goal line to get the support to fund the car the rest of the year," said Michael Andretti, team owner of Andretti Autosport.

Danica Patrick—who will race at Homestead-Miami Speedway during bothIndyCar Championship Weekend (Oct. 2) and NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend (Nov. 20)—finished 16th in the Grand Prix of Long Beach after qualifying 20th and was one of only three drivers to incorporate a three-stop strategy.

"Today's race was definitely challenging," said Patrick, the only woman to win a major closed course race. "It's been a frustrating weekend all around for the No. 7 car."

IndyCar Race 5 en route to Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway is set for May 1 at Kansas Speedway, where Patrick finished fifth last year. From there, it’s on to Indianapolis for the Indy 500 (May 30), where she has been exceedingly strong.

"The thing that's more important is that Andretti Autosport got their first win," Patrick said. "We went without a win last year ,and we all struggled a lot. It's good for morale to get that win. We have to figure out what [Hunter-Reay's] doing that we're not."

Patrick, Castroneves, Hunter-Reay and the rest of the IndyCar field will resume the pursuit for fall glory in Miami on Sunday, May 1, in Race 5 at Kansas Speedway (1:30 p.m. EST on ABC, IMS Radio Network, XM Ch. 145 and Sirius Ch. 211). Both the IZOD IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights Series Championships will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway the weekend of Oct. 1-2. For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call toll free (866) 409-RACE.

Open It Up: South Florida’s Indy Drivers

Tony Kanaan at Long Beach

"I feel like when one teammate wins, it is a victory for all of us. We are on the right track.”
--South Florida resident Tony Kanaan on Andretti Autosport win

For the second week in a row, a South Florida driver reached Victory Lane in the IZOD IndyCar Series. In Race 3 in Alabama, Helio Castroneves relied on a savvy call from the pits to win at Barber, which gave him a record-setting 10th season with at least one win. This week, Ryan Hunter-Reay started second and passed for the lead on Lap 18 when pole-sitter Will Power stuck in first gear exiting the Turn 11 hairpin. It was an emotional win for Hunter-Reay, who recently lost his mother to colon cancer.

"My mom is out there today; she passed along recently, and this race is for her,” said Hunter-Reay. “Over the last couple of laps, I said, ‘This is for you, Mom.’ The No. 1 thing she loved was to see me racing."

Key Biscayne resident Tony Kanaan took fifth place at Long Beach, giving Andretti Autosport two cars in the Top 5. The driver of the No. 11 was happy for his teammate.

“We did all we could, but we lost a couple of positions on our pit stop” said Kanaan. “It was a hard race and seemed to be very physically demanding [particularly without the usual yellows], I feel like when one teammate wins, it is a victory for all of us. We are on the right track.”

Miami’s Mario Moraes secured the highest finishing position (sixth place) for KV Racing Technology. It was his best result of the young season since being paired with team engineer Iain Watt.
 
“We worked well together, and it is just Iain’s second race with the team,” said Moraes. “We were able to use the tires well, and the car handled very good throughout the race. I am gaining more confidence with my driving; I was able to make a move on Helio on the restart, and the car just felt good all day.”

Castroneves finished seventh at Long Beach and retains second position in the IndyCar Championship standings through four races of the 17-race campaign that culminates at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 2. For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call toll free (866) 409-RACE.
"It was an interesting race,” said Castroneves. “It was very unusual in that there were so few yellow flags. Everybody was behaving out there.

“We definitely had a car that was better than seventh place. Unfortunately, we lost a few positions during our second stint. The good news is we are still second in the Championship points. We need to keep pushing heading into Kansas at our first oval race."

How South Florida drivers fared:

1. Ryan Hunter-Reay
5. Tony Kanaan
6. Mario Moraes
7. Helio Castroneves
11. Vitor Meira
14. Marco Andretti
15. EJ Viso
20. Raphael Matos
23. Mario Romancini
25. Milka Duno

Miami’s Mario Moraes secured the highest finishing position (sixth place) for KV Racing Technology. It was his best result of the young season since being paired with team engineer Iain Watt.
 
“We worked well together, and it is just Iain’s second race with the team,” said Moraes. “We were able to use the tires well, and the car handled very good throughout the race. I am gaining more confidence with my driving; I was able to make a move on Helio on the restart, and the car just felt good all day.”

Castroneves finished seventh at Long Beach and retains second position in the IndyCar Championship standings through four races of the 17-race campaign that culminates at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 2. For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call toll free (866) 409-RACE.
"It was an interesting race,” said Castroneves. “It was very unusual in that there were so few yellow flags. Everybody was behaving out there.

“We definitely had a car that was better than seventh place. Unfortunately, we lost a few positions during our second stint. The good news is we are still second in the Championship points. We need to keep pushing heading into Kansas at our first oval race."

How South Florida drivers fared:

1. Ryan Hunter-Reay
5. Tony Kanaan
6. Mario Moraes
7. Helio Castroneves
11. Vitor Meira
14. Marco Andretti
15. EJ Viso
20. Raphael Matos
23. Mario Romancini
25. Milka Duno

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