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NEWTON, Iowa, July 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Honda-powered Ryan Hunter-Reay became the first three-time winner of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Saturday night at Iowa Speedway, when his Andretti Autosport team made a bold call to give up track position and make a pit stop for fresh tires during a late-race caution period.
Running in 10th place when the green flag waved with just nine laps remaining around the tight, eight-tenths of a mile oval, Hunter-Reay rocketed through the field, passing multiple cars each lap, to overtake race leader Tony Kanaan as the pair took the white flag for the penultimate lap. The victory was Hunter-Reay's third of the season, following wins at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and the Indianapolis 500.
With his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team making the same late-race call, Josef Newgarden emerged from the pits even further back – 12th – but put on an equally impressive charge to also work his way past Kanaan on the final lap. His second-place finish is his best of 2014, and equals his career-best IndyCar Series result.
The Verizon IndyCar Series summer run of consecutive races continues next weekend with the third and final "doubleheader" race weekend of 2014, the July 19-20 Honda Indy Toronto, on the downtown Exhibition Place temporary street circuit in Toronto, Ont.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) Iowa race winner, first three-time race winner in 2014: "What a crazy night, it was unreal. We up picked some spots early in the race, then settled into a good rhythm, but it was really frustrating at times, as we seemed unable to move up from seventh or eighth. At the end, [team owner] Michael Andretti made a bold move, calling for fresh tires. That was amazing. That was so much fun, to be on new tires while everyone else was on old ones. I was passing cars right and left; it felt like a video game in the final laps. It was blur, picking a line and just slicing through them. Tony [Kanaan] was tough, though, he was pretty hooked up, even on old tires. It made for a good show. It was a pretty big gamble, but congratulations to Michael for making it. We definitely stole one tonight."
Marc Sours (Senior Manager, Chief Engineer, Commercial Division) on tonight's 1-2 finish for Honda: "Tonight's race just goes to show that in racing, just as in life, perseverance is a useful characteristic. Until the final 10 laps, when different tire strategies came into play, it appeared to be difficult to pass in the race, and for a lot of the race, the running order was not too different from qualifying. It took a calculated risk by a few of our teams right at the end to make the difference. Congratulations to Ryan Hunter-Reay, the Andretti Autosport organization and to Josef Newgarden and the Sarah Fisher Hartman team on making the right calls, and never giving up."
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