fter finishing 21st last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Ryan Hunter-Reay delivered Andretti Autosport their first victory since Hunter-Reay’s victoy last August at New Hampshire. Hunter-Reay’s win in the 225-lap Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ marked his sixth career win and the second time he had won at Milwaukee following a CART victory in 2004.
To everyone watching, it seemed fitting that an Andretti Autosport car won after Andretti Sports Marketing came to the rescue of the IndyCar Series, promoting the event. Michael Andretti announced on Saturday night that the race would return in June 2013.
“What a race. The script is perfect,” Hunter-Reay says. “Michael (Andretti) loves the sport and does a lot for it. Milwaukee and INDYCAR go hand-in-hand. This is the oldest racing facility in the country and we just won. It’s awesome.”
Hunter-Reay drove his No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car around Helio Castroneves for the lead on lap 142 in turn three after starting the race from the second position.
“It was one of the most physical races I’ve ever driven,” Hunter-Reay adds. “You’re always on edge, always busy in the car.”
He would lead Tony Kannan across the start-finish line by 5.1029 seconds. Kanaan started his No. 11 EICO/Mouser Elctronics/KV Racing Technology car in the sixth position and was able to finish second for his second podium of the season.
“I didn’t have anything at the end for Ryan, but great event,” Kanaan says. “I love to see the stands as full as I’ve ever seen here. Thanks to Michael and his people who put this event back together. I love this place. It was a long day, but this is typical Milwaukee. That’s why I love this place. You’ve got to drive it. If you don’t drive it, you never get it, so I’m extremely happy.”
James Hinchcliffe was third, followed by Oriol Servia and E.J. Viso.
Power would finish 12th after his 10-grid starting spot penalty for an illegal engine change to keep the points lead, now 31 points ahead of Hinchcliffe.
The race didn’t go without controversy as Scott Dixon was given a drive-through penalty on lap 122 for jumping the start. However, after the race, IZOD IndyCar Series Race Director Beaux Barfield acknowledged that Dixon got the penalty in error.
“Due to a glitch in technology, there was a discrepancy between the official race clock and the clock on the replay machine,” Barfield says. “Therefore, the review of the jumped start was one lap off, leading Race Control to make the call on the wrong lap.”
Dixon had worked his way up to the fourth position after starting 21st due to a 10-grid spot penalty for an unapproved engine change. He was cited for jumping the start, however it was waved off and the green was given the next lap.
Barfield added that his team will meet on June 18th to review the issue and explore ways to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It was added that he met with Scott Dixon, team owner Chip Ganassi and managing director Mike Hull to talk about the issue.
“I take responsibility for it being the wrong call,” Barfield says. “It was a perfect storm with the video that led us down the wrong path. The Ganassi team was very gracious. They appreciated my candor explaining what happened. Once a penalty is served, I can’t jump back in there and undo it. It’s one of those strange things that happen, and hopefully we never hear of happening again.”