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Hunter-Reay wins IndyCar race at Milwaukee

Ryan Hunter-Reay gives a thumbs-up after IndyCar win. (Associated Press)
Ryan Hunter-Reay gives a thumbs-up after IndyCar win. (Associated Press)

Ryan Hunter-Reay found his way back to victory lane at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis., holding off Tony Kanaan on Saturday.

It was the sixth career victory and first this season for Hunter-Reay, who brought home a victory for the man who brought the historic but financially troubled Milwaukee track back to IndyCar – car owner Michael Andretti, who served as the race promoter.

It wasn’t the first triumph at Milwaukee for Hunter-Reay, who won the 2004 race at the track in the now-defunct Champ Car Series.

Kanaan was second, followed by James Hinchcliffe, Oriol Servia and E.J. Viso.

The start of the race was delayed about an hour and a half because of rain.

Scott Dixon, who came into the race second in the points, had to serve a drive-through penalty for jumping a restart and finished 11th. He questioned the penalty afterward.

Last year’s Milwaukee winner, Dario Franchitti, started from pole position and dominated the early stages of the race. But he fell back in the field and then spun out and hit the wall on lap 195.

Points leader Will Power finished 12th.

It was a boost for the Milwaukee track, which has been hosting racing since 1903 but originally was left off the 2012 IndyCar schedule after not hosting any major racing events in 2010 and drawing a lackluster crowd for IndyCar last year. Milwaukee was put back on this year’s schedule after Andretti agreed to serve as the race’s promoter – and Andretti announced just before Saturday’s race that the event would return in 2013.

Hunter-Reay passed Helio Castroneves for the lead on lap 142, and Viso got past Castroneves for second. Castroneves made it all the way until lap 155 before pitting, hoping to make it to the end of the race without stopping.

The race then briefly went under caution on lap 182, after some raindrops fell on the track.

Franchitti’s day ended when he spun and hit the wall on lap 195. Franchitti tangled with Ryan Briscoe shortly before he spun, and said afterward that contact might have broken something on his car.

Ambrose on pole

Marcos Ambrose has won the Sprint Cup pole at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., with a speed of 203.241 mph – the first time in a quarter-century the 200 mph mark was broken during qualifying on NASCAR’s top circuit.

Nineteen drivers surpassed 200 mph on the newly paved surface at MIS, and 40 broke the previous track record of 194.232, set by Ryan Newman in 2005.

Speeds have been soaring since Thursday’s test sessions, and NASCAR decided to alter the left-side tires for today’s race, but that didn’t affect qualifying.

The last pole winner to break 200 mph in this series was Bill Elliott in 1987 at Talladega. This is Ambrose’s first Sprint Cup pole, and he posted the 11th-fastest pole-winning speed in series history.

Logano wins Nationwide

Joey Logano followed up his Sprint Cup victory at Pocono last weekend with a win on the Nationwide Series at Michigan International Speedway.

Logano held off James Buescher for his fifth Nationwide win of the year and 14th of his career.

He has won four of the last five races in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Kurt Busch, back from a one-week suspension, finished third.

There was a red flag with seven laps to go after an accident involving Josh Richards and Jamie Dick.

Flames shot briefly out of Dick’s car, but both drivers were evaluated and released after the crash.

Buescher tried to pass Logano on the inside in the final seconds but wasn’t able to.

Audi leads LeMans

Audi was in position to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France for the 11th time, with its cars in the top three spots.

Its main rival, Toyota, fell out of contention after its two cars retired.

In the 12th hour, defending champion Benoit Treluyer in the Audi No.1 led Tom Kristensen’s Audi No. 2 by 1 minute, 45.111 seconds, and Marco Bonanomi’s Audi No. 4 by a lap. Neel Jani’s Lola No. 12 was fourth, five laps behind Treluyer.


 

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