Ryan Hunter-Reay led a 1-2 American finish ahead of Josef Newgarden in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, and Juan Pablo Montoya’s third-place finish extended his championship points lead heading into the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale Aug. 30.
There were 12 different drivers to lead laps – half of the field – in the 200-lap race on the 2.5-mile triangular oval and 13 cars retired because of contact or mechanical issues.
There also were 12 caution periods – the 11th yellow flag displayed on Lap 180 for the single-car crash of race leader Sage Karam in Turn 1. Debris from the incident hit the trailing Justin Wilson’s No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda. Wilson was transported by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pa., with a severe head injury. Wilson, 37, from Sheffield, England, is currently in a coma and in critical condition while undergoing further evaluation.
Karam, from nearby Nazareth, Pa., was transported by ground to the same hospital for examination of a right foot injury. INDYCAR will update the drivers’ conditions as details become available.
Six title contenders remain, and with the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 30 carrying double base points, the title remains up for grabs. Montoya, who has stood atop the standings since winning the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in March, entered the third 500-mile race of the season with a nine-point lead over the surging Graham Rahal.
“We made a lot of adjustments to the Target car throughout the race and we were really just working with the track changes every time we came in,” commented Scott Dixon. “I was hanging back a bit to save some fuel so we could move up a bit later. It just never really materialized with the way the yellows fell and with that final yellow ending the race with no chance for a restart.”
Montoya heads to the 2.385-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course with a 34-point advantage over the third-year Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver, whose car was involved in contact on a Lap 93 restart. Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Newgarden also remain eligible for the Astor Cup.
“We took our time and were smart,” said Montoya, who qualified a season-low 19th in the No. 2 Verizon team Penske Chevrolet. “I think we had a car that could win the race, but it wasn’t worth risking it (with title contenders running behind him). We did what we needed to do today.”
Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport, won for the second time this season and 16th time in his Indy car career. Newgarden, also a two-time winner this season in the No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, earned his fourth podium finish of the season.
Power, the reigning series champion, finished fourth in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and Carlos Munoz was fifth in the No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda for Andretti Autosport.
“We came through the field several times and the team gave me what we needed,” said Hunter-Reay, who overtook rookie Gabby Chaves on Lap 196 in Turn 1 and won under caution. “This team has given me great race cars over the years and this was one of them. I hope the fans enjoyed the show because it was fun in the race car.”
On the next lap, Chaves’ No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda for BHA with Curb-Agajanian was trailing smoke, which caused the final caution. Chaves, who qualified 16th, led 31 laps.
1. (8) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 200, Running
2. (4) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
3. (19) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 200, Running
4. (3) Will Power, Chevrolet, 200, Running
5. (6) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 200, Running
6. (9) Takuma Sato, Honda, 200, Running
7. (2) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 200, Running
8. (18) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 200, Running
9. (11) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 200, Running
10. (15) James Jakes, Honda, 200, Running
11. (16) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 197, Mechanical
12. (23) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 193, Mechanical
13. (17) Pippa Mann, Honda, 185, Running
14. (20) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 179, Contact
15. (7) Justin Wilson, Honda, 179, Contact
16. (1) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 166, Contact
17. (21) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 156, Mechanical
18. (22) Marco Andretti, Honda, 138, Contact
19. (12) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 131, Contact
20. (5) Graham Rahal, Honda, 92, Contact
21. (13) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 92, Contact
22. (14) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 82, Contact
23. (10) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 36, Contact
24. (24) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 19, Mechanical