24 June 2012
Hunter-Reay doubles-up in the Iowa night-time
Dixon had the lead, but he also had to watch his fuel - and was also on the oldest set of tyres of anyone in the field. At first that didn't seem to present any problems to the Ganassi driver, who was able to maintain the lead while Hunter-Reay finally took care of his team mate Marco for second place and Castroneves dropped back complaining of a vibration; but as the end of the race approached and traffic became an increasing problem, Dixon was clearly beginning to struggle for pace.
"Toward the end I could only go to the bottom and when I got high it just had too much under steer," he explained. "We gave it the best we could and got stuck behind two slower Honda cars at the end who we had trouble getting around. I was a bit confused over that," he admitted.
Hunter-Reay finally blew past Dixon with 12 laps to go, and the loss of momentum for the Ganassi meant that Marco went past just seconds later. Dixon would also fall foul of Tony Kanaan, but was saved from being passed by Simon Pagenaud for fourth place by a Katherine Legge spinning out at turn 2 and hitting the wall, bringing out the sixth and final caution of the day and meaning the race ended under caution.
Before the caution closed everyone up, Hunter-Reay had pulled out a 1.2223s lead over Marco. He was thrilled with his back-to-back win: "We're just so happy to be in Victory Lane twice in a row," he said. "I said last weekend when we won Milwaukee - I want to do it more often!"
Hunter-Reay revealed he had to give a lot of the credit to his team mate, the 2011 Iowa race winner who finished in second place: "I have to thank Marco," he revealed. "They came here and tested. Marco put the set up on the car. When we came here, we tweaked it just a little. From there, we basically raced with what he tested with."
"Great team effort, definitely a statement from Andretti Autosport and congrats to Ryan," said Marco in response, adding that he couldn't help but be a little disappointed on a personal front. "It was a lot of fun, the car came alive in the second stint. I think we in hindsight could have taken another turn of the front wing and been really hard to beat at the end, but we kept the car how it is and I kind of ran out of tools at the end and had a lot of understeer."
Tony Kanaan was delighted with third place, although ruing missing out on a chance for the win because of the ten place grid penalty he'd been handed for an engine change.
"It was a great day for us, I wished we had started further up the field," he said. "We don't take the podium finish for granted, but I think we had a car that could have won the race.
"Hopefully we can get a win soon," he added. "We have to capitalize on what we have done so far, the championship is getting tight ... I hope the fans liked the race!"
But if there was a driver of the day, it surely had to be Simon Pagenaud who had delivered a superb performance to climb from the back of the grid to fifth place at the end.
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