“When it’s green they can go,” Barfield said. “It’s unfortunate for Ryan Briscoe and Roger Penske. I watched it and it appeared when you look at it in real time like a jumped-start but when you reviewed it and look at every fraction of a second – Briscoe did choose for the first time all day the left-side. So when he came out the chicane and the drivers are told to maintain some speed to pair up Ryan Hunter-Reay is catching up and pulling alongside so he will have some speed differential over Briscoe. Then the green flag came out and he was in the acceleration zone so it was obvious there was going to be a non-call on it which we didn’t do.
“The time of the acceleration zone, when the green flag came out, the speed Briscoe was going and the speed Hunter-Reay was appropriately going to get alongside it was completely within the rules that was ok.”
To add to Briscoe’s misfortune his “Push-to-Pass” did not load properly into his engine so he never had the overtake assist device to use in the race.
Briscoe, who finished 1.4391-seconds behind Hunter-Reay’s Dallara/Chevrolet, continues to believe Hunter-Reay jumped him on the restart.
“The fact is you're supposed to pair up,” Briscoe said. “He hung back about two car lengths out of the chicane and then he accelerated from two car lengths back before I accelerated and that's not how the restarts work. You come off the last corner, you pair up side by side, and then, within the zone, when the pole sitter, regardless whether he chooses left or right, it doesn't make a difference, when the pole sitter accelerates they wave the green flag. Not when the second place guy accelerates from two car lengths back, which is what happened.”
Pagenaud finished third in Dallara/Honda and was set to pass Hunter-Reay on the decisive restart when it appeared the race leader had too much speed to make it through Turn 1. Hunter-Reay, however, was able to thread his way through the turn and continue.
“I didn't think he would make it,” Pagenaud said. “He looked like he wasn't in good shape when he got into Turn 1. I tried to cross him there and I planned on passing him in turn three. Once we got through turn two, I was riding his bumper and the car didn't turn, so I almost hit the wall. I had to back off of. It which took away all my chances to recover the lead in turn three. One of those deals I guess. He did a good job anyway.”
Scott Dixon was fourth in a Dallara/Honda for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. Rubens Barrichello rounded out the top-five in a Dallara/Chevrolet for KV Racing followed by Power.
There were 12 lead changes among seven drivers but the 75-lap race had nine caution periods for 24 laps including a five-car pileup in Turn 4 triggered by Mike Conway appropriately on Conway Street in Baltimore. Other drivers involved were Justin Wilson, Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Graham Rahal.
The final restart of the race was less eventful for Hunter-Reay as he took the green flag with three laps to go and cruised to his season-leading fourth win of the season.
More importantly, it’s a two-driver battle with one race to go for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship heading to the big, 2-mile oval in Fontana, California.
And that has led Andretti – Hunter-Reay’s team owner who was also the race promoter for the Grand Prix of Baltimore – to make a bold prediction.
“We’re going to win this thing,” Andretti said about the championship.
The last time a prediction that bold was made involving Baltimore was New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath “guaranteed” victory in Super Bowl III over the Baltimore Colts in 1969. Namath delivered with the biggest upset in pro football history; can Hunter-Reay do the same thing?
Andretti’s bold prediction has put the pressure on Power and it’s up for Hunter-Reay to deliver for that proclamation to come true on September 16. But if Sunday’s race is any indication, Hunter-Reay is doing what any true racer would do:
He’s going for it.
Hunter-Reay visits victory lane for the fourth time this season and is now just 17 points from leader Will Power
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