James Hinchcliffe knew he needed a good result at Iowa Speedway on Sunday in order to get back into the championship hunt. Mission accomplished. Hinchcliffe grabbed his third win of the season, in dominating fashion. He led 226 of the 250 laps on the way to victory, and jumped five positions (9th to 4th) in the championship standings heading into Pocono.
It was a great day for Andretti Autosport, who has now won half of the races so far this season. Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay are responsible for those 5 wins. Ryan finished second on Sunday, but it didn’t come easy. At one point in the race he was the last car on the lead lap in 22nd position. The Andretti boys were joined by Tony Kanaan on the podium, who had a close battle with Graham Rahal late in the race.
With Hinchcliffe’s win, team owner Michael Andretti has now won the last four races at Iowa. James is also the first driver to win 3 races this season. Ed Carpenter and Rahal rounded out the top five, a result that both drivers desperately needed. This was only the second top-five finish for Rahal this year, in what has been a season to forget.
It was another rough day for Team Penske and Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti struggled all day, and Will Power and Helio Castroneves weren’t battling for the lead either. Castroneves did manage to finish in 8th position, and retains his lead in the championship standings. He now leads Hunter-Reay by just 9 points heading into Pocono. Andretti is 55 points back in third, with Hinchcliffe in fourth.
After six races over the past five weekends, the IZOD IndyCar Series now gets a weekend off to catch their breath. The next race on the schedule is July 7 at Pocono. This will be the first time IndyCar has raced on the triangle since 1989. This will be the last “oval” on the schedule until the season-ending race at Auto Club Speedway. The Pocono Indy 400 is the second leg of the Triple Crown. Kanaan won the first leg at Indianapolis. The race is set for 12:00 PM ET and will be televised on ABC.