NEWTON — Gambling paid of for Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport at Iowa Speedway Saturday night. The payoff for Hunter-Reay was the checkered flag in the 2014 Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB.
During a late-race caution pit stop, Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport car was fitted with four new tires.
On the restart on Lap 292, Hunter-Reay was 10th but not for long. Hunter-Reay picked off cars moving to challenge front-running Tony Kanaan. Hunter-Reay passed Kanaan, who had regained the lead from pole-sitter Scott Dixon, going into Turn 1 with two laps remaining.
Kanaan, driving the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, had dominated the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway Saturday night. He led 247 laps of the 300-lap event and appeared to be on his way to a second career win at Iowa.
But it was current Indianapolis 500 champion Hunter-Reay who claimed his second win at Newton’s 7/8-mile oval in the past three years. It was also Andretti Autosport’s fifth consecutive victory at Iowa Speedway.
"That was crazy. We took the tires as a big gamble and credit to (race engineer) Ray Gosselin and (race strategist/team owner) Michael Andretti for making that call," said Hunter-Reay, whose two laps led were the first since he won the Indianapolis 500. "That was fun. It was like a video game at the end. We had a tough day, but you have to keep your head in it in the Verizon IndyCar Series."
Kanaan finished third to reach the podium at Iowa Speedway for his fifth straight year.
"It's such a shame because we dominated the race," said Kanaan, who won the race in 2010. "To win races we have to run up front, so we'll take the third place and go to Toronto. I don't think I left anything out there today."
Josef Newgarden, in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing entry, followed Hunter-Reay through the traffic on the final 10-lap dash to the finish line. Newgarden, who started 21st and was running 11th at the green flag for the final restart, also pitted for tires on Lap 284 and overtook Kanaan on the final lap to tie his career-best finish.
Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, could not break the trend at Iowa Speedway that no pole sitter has won a IndyCar Series race at the track. Dixon, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion who claimed his first Verizon P1 Award of the season on Friday, finished fourth.
Ed Carpenter advanced five positions relative to his starting spot for fifth place in the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car. Hunter-Reay reclaimed third place in the championship standings — 32 points behind new front-runner Helio Castroneves of Team Penske, who finished eighth at Iowa.
The Iowa Corn Indy 300 was red-flagged after 39 laps because of moisture on the racetrack and resumed after a 26-minute delay. The last red flag because of rain was at Sao Paulo in 2011.
The Verizon IndyCar Series has run at Iowa Speedway since 2007, but this is the first time the race has been pushed into July. As such, the Iowa Corn Indy 300 assumes more importance in the countdown to the championship.
Next up for the IndyCar Series is a doubleheader weekend at Toronto July 19-20.
More on the Iowa Corn Indy 300 will be in Monday's Newton Daily News.