American driver jumps to first place in IndyCar title race
Ryan Hunter-Reay held on to the lead on a restart with three laps remaining and won the Honda Indy Toronto under yellow for his third consecutive triumph in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
With the result, Hunter-Reay has also taken control of the IZOD IndyCar Series championship battle and will carry a 34-point lead over Will Power to Edmonton, Alberta in two weeks.
Hunter-Reay had a commanding lead over a very game Charlie Kimball and looked set to cruise to the win. But when Josef Newgarden was unable to reverse himself after sliding off at Turn 3 following a third-place battle with Simon Pagenaud (in which Pagenaud blocked Newgarden on the inside as they headed for the corner), the field was bunched up once again.
When the green came back out, Hunter-Reay held control of the lead while Kimball was bumped by Mike Conway at Turn 1. That sent Kimball into Sebastien Bourdais, who was knocked into the tire barriers as the race continued on.
Then at Turn 3, the typical Toronto mayhem finally emerged as Ryan Briscoe turned into Dario Franchitti, causing the two to crash on the outside wall just before the turn. In addition, Marco Andretti, Pagenaud, and Ed Carpenter wound up getting stacked up inside the corner itself, forcing them to need help from the safety crew to get going again.
That caused the race to end under yellow, with Hunter-Reay leading Kimball and Mike Conway to the checkered flag. Hunter-Reay is now the first American driver to lead the IZOD IndyCar Series standings since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006. Hornish went on to win the title that year on a tiebreaker over the late Dan Wheldon.
Tony Kanaan climbed 13 spots to finish fourth, while Oriol “The Ghost Driver” Servia came home fifth and even got some legitimate airtime on ABC for his efforts.
As for the two Canadians in the field, Alex Tagliani of Quebec battled to a 10th place finish, while Toronto native James Hinchcliffe — far and away, the fan and media darling of the weekend in his hometown — suffered a mechanical failure that ended his day early.
More to come later tonight on IndyRacingRevolution.com…