24 June 2012
Hunter-Reay doubles-up in the Iowa night-time
Power had an unlikely ally rush to his defence against Viso's comments. "A little rich coming from EJ, he's hit everything but the pace car!" said Dario Franchitti while visiting the TV commentary booth. "That annoyed me there. Will made a mistake for sure, but EJ - how many mistakes has he made?"
In fact Power was unaware of what had happened and thought he had spun out all by himself and simply caught Viso on the way to the wall. When viewing the video replay for the first time, he was shocked to discover that Viso had been on the inside line all along.
"He said to me in the car that I was down low on him or something and I didn't understand," said Power. "But, oh yeah, now I see. I didn't get the call that he was underneath me, so I feel, man - I didn't even know he was there, I feel bad for him."
The caution gave everyone the chance to come onto pit lane for their first round of pit stops of the night, but it didn't go well for Oriol Servia who departed his pit stall with the rear left quarter of the #22 ablaze from spilt fuel catching light on the heat of the engine cover. Servia continued on for a time, but it was clear that the fire had melted some key fuel seals and electrical components of the car and he was soon forced to retire.
The restart was waved off for a few minutes because of reports of rain in the air, and also to sort out a puzzling situation in which James Jakes was now listed as race leader: race control determined that he'd achieved this by illegally passing the pace car and sentenced him to a 40-second stop-and-hold penalty on pit lane.
All of that put Castroneves back in charge of the restart when it finally went ahead on lap 85, but just a few minutes later the yellow flags were back out again this time for JR Hildebrand, who had understeered off onto the marbles in turn 4 on lap 99 and into the wall while working hard to overcome his earlier front wing damage.
"That was just a mistake on my part," he admitted. "I had every bit of faith that with a couple of yellows we were going to get back on the lead lap and motor up the field, the car was really that good."
Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe were the only takers among the leaders for fuel and tyres, with Briscoe even ducking back into pit lane for an additional fuel top-up just before the green flag came out again on lap 111. Clearly both men had a fuel conservation run in mind to potentially complete the second half of the race with only one further pit stop, or at least to pick up valuable track position if a caution were to come out at an opportune moment.
At the restart itself, Hinchcliffe manage to muscle past Andretti on the high line for second place, while Tony Kanaan tried to go wheel-to-wheel for fourth underneath Ryan Hunter-Reay but wasn't able to make it stick and had to back out twice. Hunter-Reay bounced back from that to charge past his team mates for second place behind Castroneves, leaving Marco altogether less than thrilled by the hardball driving antics of his alleged team mates as no favours were asked for or given between the Andretti Autosport trio.
Perhaps the most eye-catching performance of the evening to this point however was that of Simon Pagenaud, who had started from dead last but after the restart he was soon passing Rubens Barrichello, Josef Newgarden, Justin Wilson and finally Tony Kanaan for fifth place in quick succession with the calm assurance of a seasoned pro, rather than someone on only his fourth oval track outing.
Tagged as: Rubens Barrichello , Iowa , Helio Castroneves , James Hinchcliffe , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Dario Franchitti , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Scott Dixon , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud , tony kanaan
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