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Hunter-Reay charges to Milwaukee win

The initial attempt at a restart had been thwarted by an unusually slow Justin Wilson, and while he was up to speed for the next try at a green flag the cause for his initial sluggishness became graphically clear on lap 94 when smoke and flame burst from the back of the #18 Dale Coyne Racing car.

"It was a disappointing end to the day," said the Englishman. "We had a great race car and we were making good progress during that first stint, picking guys off one by one. Then we got caught out with that yellow and after that we were trying to come back through

"On that last restart I lost second gear, which is why I dropped to the back," he explained. "We found third gear eventually, but having to use that for the restart made it tough. I was still able to pass guys, so I'm just disappointed that we're out of the race."

Unfortunately his compatriot and team mate James Jakes would have little better luck: he got taken out of the race just minutes later when Takuma Sato spun on the low line and crashed into Jakes, putting them both into the SAFER barrier.

"I just think Takuma got low on the inside and was loose and I was caught on the outside, and he just came straight in the side of me," he said. "You can see it there on the TV. Maybe his banzai moves are a little bit too much at times."

Sato refuted that 'banzai' comment and pointed out that he had been racing for a top position while Jakes was already a lap down at the time the accident happened.

"After the restart I was side-by side a couple of times and one stage it was with James Jakes, who was a lap down," explained the Japanese former F1 driver, now with Rahal Letterman Lannigan. "We were side-by side from Turn 4 and on the main straight into Turn 1 I was on the inside and was kind of boxed in. I tried to hang on but the track was so slippery on the extreme inside. The car started sliding and we ran out of space."

Helio Castroneves had taken the lead under the previous Wilson-sparked caution by staying out while others pitted under yellow, and he led again into the next waved-off restart on lap 102 and the successful one next time around on lap 103, the Penske team clearly intent on making a long-run fuel-conservation strategy work for him. It looked like his main challengers were set to be Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ganassi's Scott Dixon.

Dixon had been one of the big movers so far in the race, slicing through the field to get as high as third place having started from 21st position following a lacklustre qualifying and a ten-place grid penalty for an engine change. Just when it seemed that everything was coming together for the Kiwi came news that he'd been handed a drive-thru penalty for jumping the restart, putting him right back down again.

Dixon uttered the usual protestations of innocence, and the TV replays showed him doing ... precisely nothing wrong. Everyone scratched their heads. Then the tape was wound back another minute to that waved-off restart (aborted by Castroneves going too early) and yes, arguably that showed Dixon moving too soon, but then only because Viso had been slow to react and slowed up everyone else. In any case, the green flag had never been shown that time so Dixon could hardly be penalised for a restart that never happened.




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)
Marco Andretti in pit lane (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti and father/team boss Michael Andretti at IMS (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti enters Turn 1 during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves sets up for Turn 1 during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti in the cockpit (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves on course during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson and Ryan Hunter-Reay discuss practice at IMS (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 25, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. This is Newgarden`s first victory in the IndyCar series. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves leads the field down the frontstretch to start the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday April 26 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads the field to the green flag to start the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday April 26 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves wins the Verizon P1 Award for winning the pole for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves wins the Verizon P1 Award for winning the pole for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves wins the Verizon P1 Award for winning the pole for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves wins the Verizon P1 Award for winning the pole for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)

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