Ryan Hunter-Reay completed a hat-trick of IndyCar wins and moved into the championship lead with victory in this weekend’s race around the streets of Toronto.
Andretti Autosport driver Hunter-Reay, who came into the weekend having won the last two outings at Milwaukee and Iowa, benefited from pitting just before Ganassi’s Graham Rahal crashed and brought out a yellow flag early on, which put him in a good positon to capitalise when the cars that had stayed out made their own stops under caution a couple of laps later.
He took the lead when Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Hamilton) pitted and was never headed from there on, although he had to survive a chaotic final restart that ended with several cars in the barriers, and forced the race to be finished under yellows.
Among the victims was Dragon’s Sebastien Bourdais, who was within sight of third before Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball was bumped into him by Mike Conway and put him into the wall.
Kimball was able to hang on to finish a career-best second place, with AJ Foyt’s Conway a great third after starting from 17th on the grid. Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology) was fourth despite a drivethrough penalty early on for clipping one of Oriol Servia’s tyres in pitlane.
Hunter-Reay’s victory came on a day when all of his main rivals met with disaster. Will Power (Penske) led early on, but was caught out by the timing of the first yellow and was shuffled back into the middle of the pack. It was while trying to recover lost ground that he brushed his front wing against the Sarah Fisher car of Josef Newgarden, prompting two visits to the pits for repairs.
It was an equally difficult afternoon in the Ganassi camp, where Scott Dixon became the race’s first retiree when his engine failed after just eight laps. Things were scarely better for Dario Franchitti, who lost a lot of time in the pits when he pulled up too far from the wall to be within range of the fuel hose, and then later became another casualty of the final restart when he was squeezed into the wall by Penske’s Ryan Briscoe, who himself was being forced wide by another car.