Ryan Hunter-Reay has taken victory at the penultimate race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season in his Andretti Autosport machine, but the race was overshadowed by the crash involving everyone’s favourite driver Justin Wilson.
The race really was a war of attrition with only ten cars finishing the last oval race of the season in a race littered with contact and mechanical failures.
That meant a number of restarts, and as the full course caution periods grew higher, Hunter-Reay found himself climbing up the pecking order each time the green flag flew as leaders of the race hung around like a drunk sloth on a branch. More than half the field led the race for at least a lap at some point during the course of the 200 laps of the triangle.
There were 33 changes for the lead in all, and unfortunately the man second place in the championship – Graham Rahal – was not one of them as he lost out before the halfway mark to put an end to a run of form that saw him take two wins, a third and a fourth in his last four races. That allowed championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya to build a gap on him going into the final round at Sonoma with third place at the oval.
He gained third place because of the race finishing under full course caution because of the serious incident you’ll already know about. Sage Karam hit the wall and a piece of debris from his car made contact with Justin Wilson.
With the first priority of track officials making sure Wilson was taken to hospital as fast as possible, the rest of the race was run under yellow. Hunter-Reay crossed the line first, with Josef Newgarden coming in second.
Of course, the race result doesn’t really matter – everyone at The Checkered Flag just hopes that one of the nicest men in the paddock gets better soon. Get well soon Justin.