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Hunter-Reay charges to Milwaukee win

"I really don't know what happened on the restart where we got penalised," said a perplexed Dixon afterwards. "I think the one they waved off was the one we got out of line when EJ Viso was trying to restart at 20mph. I was in first gear and when it went green, I went. I don't know what the issue was but I'm really looking forward to the explanation from IndyCar ... That punishment is pretty harsh."

The drive-thru together with a sticking throttle later in the day ended Dixon's hopes of competing for the win, dropping him from third to 15th. When race control did finally get to re-examine the incident later in the day, a mortified Beaux Barfield realised what had happened: the time codes used on the video equipment had been slightly out of sync, and when Barfield had called up footage of the restart he got the waved-off one from 39s earlier instead. He hadn't watched on far enough to realise that this had been the aborted start.

"It was obviously the wrong call based on the reality of the situation," admitted Barfield. “But based on the clock leading us the wrong way, technology completely got us ... It's one of those strange things that we've probably never heard of and hopefully never hear of happening again.

"I take responsibility for it being the wrong call," he said. "It was a perfect storm." He said that he had gone to Dixon and the Ganassi team afterwards to explain the miscall: "They appreciated my candour with them, explaining to them truthfully exactly what happened, and thought, 'It's racing,'" he said, adding that "Once a penalty is served, I can't then jump back in there and undo it."

Up at the front, after having led the race for a total of 50 laps, Castroneves had a momentary problem getting loose in turn 2 on lap 142 that gave Ryan Hunter-Reay the chance to steal the lead - and the Andretti Autosport #28 needed no second invitation.

"I was saving my tires behind him, kind of biding my time, saving some fuel. Everybody was strong on new tyres," said Hunter-Reay later. "Then he had a wiggle, then another wiggle, then he got off into the grey. I just went for it and got him into turn three."

Once in front in the clear air it was still a battle to keep the car under control on the Milwaukee Mile, but a heck of a lot easier than it had been stuck further down in traffic.

Case in point: polesitter and early race leader Dario Franchitti, who had lost the lead during the first round of pit stops and caution and who ever since had just dropped slowly backwards down the field as his ill-handling form from Friday practice reasserted itself and he found himself stuck midfield, through the next green flag pit stop cycle and a brief yellow for a very light rain shower that rapidly passed over the track on lap 182.

But Franchitti had never looked like reviving his fortunes or challenging for the lead, even before he tangled with Ryan Briscoe at the restart on lap 192 - Briscoe apparently not seeing Franchitti on the inside an pressing him right down onto the grass verge, banging wheels as they went.

"I was on Ryan's inside and he just kept coming down there," confirmed Franchitti. "I just don't think his spotter told him I was there. I had half a car on the rumble strip."




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)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by kissing the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves and Tim Cindric come together after a valiant effort in the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan with his MAV TV 500 trophy (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and crew celebrate winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday August 30 2014 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan celebrates winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday August 30 2014 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and wife Lauren celebrate winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday August 30 2014 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and wife Lauren with the Winners Trophy after winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Confetti falls on the podium trio Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter celebrate after the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter celebrate after the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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