Ryan Hunter-Reay Prevails in Chaotic IndyCar Race at Pocono

Championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya extends his points lead with a third-place finish, but mood is somber due to Justin Wilson’s crash injury.

Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay scored his second win of the Verizon IndyCar season in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, followed by Josef Newgarden and championship points leader Juan Pablo Montoya.

The post-race victory celebration was muted, however, by an injury during the race to Hunter-Reay’s teammate, Justin Wilson, who was struck by debris from another driver’s crash. “My thoughts are with Justin,” Hunter-Reay said, as teams awaited word of his condition.

Maxim-sponsored driver Graham Rahal lost ground in his championship quest when another driver collided with Rahal’s crimson Steak ‘n Shake Dallara-Honda racecar about halfway through the race.

It was a crash-filled race with repeated caution periods for crashes, with hometown favorite Marco Andretti crashing out of the race, to the disappointment of the crowd.

The most serious was a crash by Sage Karam that saw the nosecone section of his car torn off. Passing driver Wilson was struck in the head by the broken-off nose section and suffered a head injury for which he was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital.

Montoya drove the fastest lap of the day in his charge to third place from his starting spot down in 19th place.

Rahal came into the race trailing points leader Juan Pablo Montoya by only 9 points after winning the previous race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Rahal qualified his car in fifth place, the fastest Honda-powered entry and his best starting spot of the season.

The day’s results left Rahal trailing Montoya by 34 points going into next weekend’s season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. The points paid drivers for that race are double the normal amount, leaving ample opportunity for a big swing in the championship for driver who do well, especially if their points rivals falter early and score few points.

“We’ll go to Sonoma in attack mode,” pledged Rahal.

Photos by Chris Jones, courtesy of IndyCar