Andretti Prediction In Baltimore Becomes Reality For Hunter-Reay In Fontana - Page 3
Again, the prediction by Michael Andretti, that his driver would win the IICS Championship at this final race, when the new DW12 chassis had never competed at this track and that no American open wheel races had been run at Auto Club Speedway since 2005 seemed astounding being that it came directly after the Baltimore win.
Andretti Autosport racing team came to the Auto Club Speedway track loaded for bear. In qualifications, the DW12's go out for three laps with the final two laps (5 miles) total time used for formation to the grid (baring any penalty for engine changes - later). Michael's son and third generation racing Andretti, Marco bested the next closest competitor, Penske' Ryan Briscoe, to gain the championship point and the check by .2614 of a second. Hunter-Reay did not do so well. His time combined with the fact that most all of the top competitors changed to fresh engines for the 500 mile race, had him starting at the back of the grid at P22 with Will Power at P13.
The pre-race odds for the top five drivers to win the race were published (in the newsroom) as follows - Will Power - 2/1, Ryan Hunter-Reay 5/2, Scott Dixon 7/2, Ryan Briscoe 5/1, and Dario Franchitti at 6/1 odds.
All Will had to do was basically stay on the same lap and dog/stalk RHR around the track, have clean pit stops, and finish the race. The start of the race saw Will Power struggle with the handling of his car and eventually, Ryan and Will were running with each other. After about a fifth (of the laps in the race ... not the bottle), Will Power responded to calls from his team over the radio in his ear to pass RHR. On Lap 55 in turn #2, Will dropped down low and according to his view, caught a seam in the pavement that got his car loose and he spun up into the safer barrier wall, just missing the #28 of Ryan Hunter-Reay - WOW!
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Ryan Hunter-Reay pulls into pit box #25, takes off his helmet and is first greeted by a member of his team ... believe it Ryan, you are the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series World Champion! Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)