Long Pond, PA – It was a somber victory lane on Sunday afternoon as Ryan Hunter-Reay won the ABC Supply 500 at the Pocono Raceway. Unfortunately, Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport teammate Justin Wilson was injured in a crash with 21 laps-to-go as he was hit in the helmet by a piece of debris from Sage Karam’s car.
Karam, crashed in Turn 1 while leading on Lap 179 as he hit the outside SAFER barrier very hard. The debris scattered everywhere and unfortunately hit Wilson in the head which caused the England native to hit the inside wall very hard. He was extracted from his car and airlifted to an area hospital for further evaluation but no word was given on the extend of his injuries.
The scary accident would cause a lengthy cleanup as we wouldn’t go back to green for the final restart until seven laps-to-go.
Gabby Chaves led the field to the green, but Hunter-Reay pounced entering Turn 1 with five to go and never looked back en route to his second win of the season (all in the last three races) and 16th in his Verizon IndyCar Series career.
Josef Newgarden who dominated the early stages of today’s race came home second for his third top five in the last four races as he finished second two races ago in Iowa to Hunter-Reay.
Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya came home third while Will Power and Carlos Munoz rounded out the top five.
Several of the title contenders had a rough go of it today as on the Lap 92 restart, Graham Rahal’s championship hopes went up in smoke as he was involved in an accident in Turn 3 with Tristian Vautier.
Rahal, was battling Justin Wilson entering the third turn as the two were side-by-side for the 15th spot. But, Vautier for some reason thought he had enough room to go to the inside of Rahal and clipped the grass as he got sideways into Rahal causing both cars to crash very heavily into the outside SAFER barrier in Turn 3.
Both of their days would be ruined as Rahal finished 20th which would be his worst finish in the last eight races.
But, if not for a pit road issue on Lap 67 where Rahal’s gas man couldn’t get his fuel hose engaged in his No. 15 Steak n’ Shake Honda, he wouldn’t have been back in the midpack fray near the midway point of the race.
Rahal, was inside the top 10 prior to that stop, but after a 26-second long pit stop, he came out nearly 30-seconds behind the leader in 20th.
That put him in the ruckus on the restart which really put a damper on this title hopes as Rahal entered today’s race nine points out of the lead as he’s now points behind Montoya.
Another title hopeful in Sebastien Bourdais was involved in a crash as well as he too crashed on a restart on Lap 36. He would finish 23rd as he entered today’s race 86 points behind the leader as he’s now points out.
Three more title hopefuls crashed in the closing stages as Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti also crashed as their hopes went up in smoke as well.
Overall, we saw a more yellows than normal today as we had just three combined in the previous two years here. Today, we saw 11 in total which honestly was rare to see.
There’s only one race left in the season as that’s next weekend in Sonoma (4 pm ET/NBCSN/IMS Radio Network).
Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report covering Racing. He’s covered both IndyCar and NASCAR action since 2009 and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by both the IndyCar Series and all three divisions of NASCAR racing.
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