Monday, April 19, 2010

Toyota GP of Long Beach: Owner Andretti Predicted Hunter-Reay Win

Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport becomes the first American born driver to win a race in this 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2010)

Toyota GP of Long Beach: Owner Andretti Predicted Hunter-Reay Win

With the confidence that comes from being a multiple time race winner here at motorsports premiere temporary street course race at Long Beach, Michael Andretti predicted that his recently signed driver (a test for a few races to begin), Ryan Hunter-Reay, would win the race.

What makes this prediction almost astounding is that none of the cars had set a tire anywhere on Shoreline Drive and he made this prediction at a post induction ceremony interview on Thursday, April 15, 2010, where he, along with Danny Sullivan, was honored with an achievement medallion in the sidewalk along the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame located in front, and the West side, of the Long beach Convention Center along Pine Avenue.

As for the race itself, Will Power was able to hold on for third place on the podium and increase his early season points lead. On the 17th/18th lap, his car experienced a transmission performance interruption (stuck in gear after turn 11 along the front straight) allowing the P2 and P3 qualifiers of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Justin Wilson respectively to get by along the 190 mph Shoreline Drive. For Ryan's part, he showed why he is one of the most respected drivers in the series when he exhibited extreme patience having to follow the Boy Scouts of America sponsored car of Alex Lloyd (Dale Coyne Racing) all the while Justin Wilson and Will Power whittled away at the margin of time between these chasing cars Hunter-Reay had built up during a rather flawless Green Flag first half of the race. After about five laps, in a "Be Prepared" moment, Ryan muscled past Lloyd, and when Wilson tried to do likewise, the standout Dreyer & Reinbold driver wasn't prepared for Lloyd who turned across the front of Wilson's car and wiped off half its front wing.

Wilson had to come in for a pitstop and a wing change and, of course, this placed him behind the early season IndyCar Series point leader from Penske, Will Power.

On Green Flag restart from a late full course caution track condition - caused when Conquest Racing's Mario Romancini pushed Graham Rahal (Sara Fisher Racing) into the tires on turn 1 - Justin Wilson got the jump on Will Power to reclaim second with a brilliant dive at Turn 1, and while he could not catch Hunter-Reay, the brilliant former CCWS driver from England had no trouble resisting the the fellow former CCWS driver's retaliation attempts, as a Team Penske driver (any Team Penske driver) was thwarted from winning a race for the first time in 2010.

Add the fact that in the post race interview in front of the gathered press, Ryan Hunter-Reay cited his previous Formula Atlantic (2002) and CCWS experience with his positive feelings for the track (which he considers his "home" track) at Long Beach ... one could say Champ Car has never left ... in this, the sophomore year for IndyCar at the famed streets in Long Beach ... for at the end of the race it was P1, P2 , and P3 on the podium for former ChampCar World series experienced drivers!

With the prediction becoming a matter of fact, we, at The EDJE, now wonder if we can tag along with the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame inductee (he joins his father with this exclusive honor), and IZOD IndyCar team owner, Michael Andretti, to a night at touring the tables in Las Vegas.

How They Fared (** denotes past Driver|Team CCWS ladder affiliation):

Pos Driver Team Gap

1.  Ryan Hunter-Reay**   Andretti                85 laps
2. Justin Wilson** Dreyer & Reinbold + 5.6031s
3. Will Power** Penske + 8.5864s
4. Scott Dixon Ganassi + 10.6287s
5. Tony Kanaan Andretti + 11.7732s
6. Mario Moraes** KV** + 16.5171s
7. Helio Castroneves Penske + 16.8928s
8. Ryan Briscoe Penske + 18.2214s
9. Dan Wheldon Panther + 19.4575s
10. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold + 19.9307s
11. Vitor Meira Foyt + 27.4005s
12. Dario Franchitti Ganassi + 28.1352s
13. Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas/Lanigan** + 28.6037s
14. Marco Andretti Andretti + 30.0120s
15. EJ Viso** KV** + 31.6182s
16. Danica Patrick Andretti + 32.1804s
17. Simona de Silvestro**HVM** + 33.1652s
18. Takuma Sato KV** + 1 lap
19. Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne** + 1 lap
20. Raphael Matos** Luczo Dragon/de Ferran + 1 lap


Alex Tagliani** Fazzt 65 laps
Graham Rahal** Sarah Fisher 58 laps
Mario Romancini Conquest** 58 laps
Bertrand Baguette Conquest** 45 laps
Milka Duno Dale Coyne** 10 laps

Final note - A tweet observed on twitter from someone attending the race went something like this:

Danica must have a THING for me / she has driven by, like, a 100 times already, geeeez!

... notes From The EDJE

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