HUNTER-REAY REPEATS AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Sunday, April 27, 2014) – The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Green Flag waved 2 hours, 30 minutes late, but for Ryan Hunter-Reay it was well worth the wait.
Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL car, led Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti across the finish line under caution to win at Barber Motorsports Park for the second-straight season. A severe thunderstorm forced the race into a delayed start with a 100-minute time limit.
“I’ve been anxious (to compete) since we left Long Beach,” said Hunter-Reay, who started from the pole in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13 but was involved in a multi-car incident on Lap 56 of 80 that dropped him to the rear of the field. “With the rain and the wet conditions on how we started out there, it was tough. Then we went to the Firestone reds, and man – on a wet surface that was just really tough to keep the car on track. Once we got out front though, we started checking out and it was a dream to drive the DHL car.
“(Long Beach) should have been a great result, but we got it today.”
It was the 12th IndyCar victory for Hunter-Reay, who moved 18 points behind championship leader Will Power heading into the inaugural May 10 Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the reconfigured road course. Hunter-Reay capitalized on a Lap 16 mistake by Power, the pole sitter, whose No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car slid off the wet road course in Turn 5. Power, also a two-time winner at Barber, quickly recovered but was 4.0830 seconds behind at the completion of the lap.
Marco Andretti, who started ninth in the No. 25 Snapple car, went almost the entire distance without radio communication with his pit lane crew. He overtook Power for second on the Lap 34 restart and held off repeated challenges by reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.
Dixon, the runner-up in each of the previous four races finished third ahead of Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. Power and Pagenaud are the only two drivers with top five finishes in every race.
HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA POST-RACE QUOTES:
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Owner, Andretti Autosport): “I’m really proud of this whole team. Marco (Andretti) did a hell of a job. He drove his way to the front there and Ryan (Hunter-Reay drove a perfect race. Feels good after the last one for sure.” (On Hunter-Reay strategy): “It just played out that way. We were lucky that Will (Power) made that mistake, and that gave up the top position. That was really important. Just the way everything fell with the rain and how it dried out. It came to us. It was a great day.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “I’ve been anxious (to compete) since we left Long Beach. What a dream to have a car like that at that distance. Great to get the No. 28 DHL car with a Honda at a Honda (sponsored) race into Victory Circle. (Long Beach) should have been a great result, but we got it today.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda): “It was fun. If you look at the onboard, the start was incredible. Very treacherous and very difficult to see. We had a little moment with Montoya at the start and dropped to 13th. The SPHM team did a great job and the car was fast and the Honda power was great. The car was really good all race and I was able to go forward. It’s a good start of the season for us.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Verizon Chevrolet was really fast on the wet tires and I just got in trouble in turn 5. I keep moving my braking point further and further into the corners and I got caught going too far. It’s tough to not push past the limits with wet patches everywhere. We really didn’t have the pace in the dry anyway, but that sure didn’t help our cause when I went off course. We may have just been a bit heavy on downforce. Still a fifth-place finish today and we have the points lead going into the month of May.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVSH Racing): “I had another fast car and another disappointing result. Once again, I feel bad for the KVSH Racing guys. They did a great job. I want to thank my sponsors, especially Hyrdoxycut for their support this weekend. We just have to move on and try and win the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.”