(NEWTON, IA) – American drivers swept the top four positions, and six of the top seven, as Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay captured his first victory of the Verizon IndyCar Series season last Saturday night in the Iowa Corn 300. Hunter-Reay prevailed by 0.5046 seconds over Josef Newgarden to become the ninth different winner in 13 Verizon IndyCar Series races this season.
Click HERE to view and download the official box score for the Iowa Corn 300.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Sage Karam finished a career-high third. Graham Rahal placed fourth for his third consecutive top-five finish, and Carlos Munoz, who won at Detroit in May, was fifth.
The last time Americans swept the podium in a Verizon IndyCar Series event was the 2006 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, when Michael Andretti followed winner Sam Hornish Jr and Marco Andretti across the finish line in one of the most historic finishes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It was the sixth consecutive victory for Andretti Autosport at Iowa Speedway and the third victory at the track for Hunter-Reay, who was also battling Newgarden for the win one year ago, when he beat the CFH Racing driver to the finish line by 0.5814 of a second.
“The No. 28 Honda was on rails at the end,” said Hunter-Reay, who had only one top-five finish this season entering the race. “This one we really had to work for. After a tough season, this one is really nice.”
Following a Lap 278 restart, Hunter-Reay held off multiple challenges by Newgarden in the No. 67 Chevrolet.
“To finish second was bittersweet,” said Newgarden, who qualified seventh. “We had a winning car, but it’s a credit to the team to finish second.”
Juan Pablo Montoya’s championship points lead appeared to take a hit when the No. 2 Chevrolet made right-side contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier on Lap 10 of the 300-lap race. It was his first DNF of the season and the first in 18 races since the 2014 race at Iowa Speedway.
“We had a good car. It was a little loose the first couple of laps, so I was just really taking it easy, biding my time,” said Montoya, who qualified third. “Something broke.”
A mechanical issue in the final third of the race plagued the No. 9 Chevrolet of Scott Dixon, who entered the race 54 points behind, and an 11th place finish by pole sitter Helio Castroneves, allowed Montoya to enter the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on August 2 relatively unscathed.
“I think we had a really fast car this weekend,”said Dixon. “We had to overcome some challenges during the race but we stuck with it. We made a ton of changes and were really trying to just keep up with the track all night.”
Rahal moved to second in the standings, 42 points behind, while Dixon, who finished 18th, is 48 points back, and Castroneves is 54 points out of the lead.
“That was my hardest race ever,” Rahal said. “First we had the right rear go down and then the car just wouldn’t shift. It was a killer for me. We were quicker than (Ryan) Hunter-Reay, that’s for sure, which is frustrating. When the car was working right, we passed all those guys but, dude, I’m spent. I’m ready for a good beer and a nice sleep.