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Hunter-Reay charges to Milwaukee win

Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Milwaukee IndyFest this weekend, after having to wait an hour and a half for the race to get underway because of a morning rain storm.
It was almost a perfect day for Michael Andretti: as promoter of this year's Milwaukee IndyFest, he got to put on a show that was both better presented and better attended than previous years, and got to announce that the contract was already signed to do it all over again in 2013. And as team owner, he got to put two of his drivers onto the podium at the end of the race itself.

The one thing that didn't go according to plan was the weather, which started pouring down shortly before midday and left teams, drivers and media milling around under tents in the infield waiting for the rain to stop and the one-mile oval to get dried off so that they could go racing. It wasn't anywhere in the league of the embarrassment of Detroit Belle Isle's mid-race delay for track rebuilding work, but it was a delay that everyone could have done without.

When everyone finally got summoned to their cars and the green flag came out 90 minutes behind schedule to get things underway, they were facing a very different track form the one that they had left after Friday qualifying, now that all the rubber that had been laid down had been washed off.

"The rain delay through us for a bit of a loop," admitted James Hinchcliffe after the race. "That first ten was a bit stale, there was no two grooves. We had to take some time to build that, but after that first stop it went good ol' fashioned Milwaukee. It was great short track racing, cars were falling off, guys were having to drive it."

The best place to be in such circumstances is out in the clear air at the front, and Dario Franchitti duly used his out-of-nowhere pole position to take the lead for the first run of the 225 mile race, with fellow front-row man Ryan Hunter-Reay slotting into second.

It was a routine opening stint, with only Josef Newgarden deviating from standard operating procedure by coming into the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing pits on lap 24. He was penalised for driving over an air hose that one of the pit crew was too slow to pull clear, but it didn't matter anyway: the early stop was due to fuel pressure alarms, and the glitch wasn't going away, forcing him to park on lap 48.

The rest of the field continued through to pit stops that began around lap 60, but were then interrupted by Simona de Silvestro spinning and crashing on lap 67 while racing with Tony Kanaan and Oriel Servia.

"I just made a mistake," she admitted. "TK passed me and Oriol tried to tuck behind him, and I just got in the marbles. It's just unfortunate. Sometimes you make mistakes; that's what happens."

Helio Castroneves had briefly led under the caution but was among those to come in for a pit stop, so when the restart came on lap 79 it was EJ Viso in the lead alongside his KV Racing Technology team mate Rubens Barrichello, the two having been among those to stay out.




Related Pictures

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Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves at the Milaukee IndyFest - Wisconsin, 16 June (c) 2012, Lesley Ann Miller LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Eventual winner Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28) holds off a challenge for the lead from race runner-up Tony Kanaan (#11) on the final restart at the Milaukee IndyFest - Wisconsin, 16 June. (c) 2012, F. Peirce Williams LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in victory lane at the Milaukee IndyFest - Wisconsin, 16 June (c) 2012, Lesley Ann Miller LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves goes off-course as the field streams by during the opening lap of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates after qualifying fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Power, the 2014 Champion Driver, has an outside chance to repeat during this final race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay reviews telemetry data in his pit stand during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay apexes the Turn 9A chicane during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay sits in his Andretti Autosport Honda on pit lane prior to practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia is strapped into his Andretti Autosport Honda prior to practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia on course during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia is strapped into his Andretti Autosport Honda prior to practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti kicks up some dust in the Turn 9A chicane complex during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Takuma Sato kicks up some dust in the Turn 9A chicane during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The Chevrolet of Will Power sports a tribute sticker for Justin Wilson at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Marco Andretti, and Graham Rahal at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Graham Rahal, and James Hinchcliffe bring their machines across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)

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