DETROIT – After his first IndyCar victory since 2015, Ryan Hunter-Reay could look back on some of the most frustrating moments of the drought.
“If you look at the past Indy 500s in ‘17 and ‘16, ones I think we could have won – both of those. Led the most laps in one of them, didn’t finish the race,” he said. “Catching James Hinchcliffe at Long Beach in the last five laps or whatever it was. The electrical system shuts down. Leading in 2016 at Pocono and the same electrical problem shuts the car down.”
Hunter-Reay can finally put all that behind him after he prevailed at Belle Isle on Sunday, taking over the lead when teammate Alexander Rossi slid off the track at a turn with about seven laps to go. It was Hunter-Reay’s 17th career IndyCar victory but his first since Pocono in 2015.
Rossi, the pole winner, was struggling to hold off Hunter-Reay before the mishap at a right turn on lap 64 of 70. From there, it was smooth sailing for Hunter-Reay on the 2.35-mile street course. He finished more than 11 seconds ahead of second-place Will Power.
“There was just no way anyone was going to beat him,” Power said. “We just seemed to struggle a little bit on full tanks and cold tires, but very happy with the result. You know, I feel like with what we had, that’s the most that we could have got out of that race.”
Ed Jones finished third, followed by Scott Dixon. Rossi fell to 12th and dropped out of the series points lead.
“Our car was quick. We led a lot of the race,” Rossi said. “I don’t have an answer for you, unfortunately.”
Rossi and Hunter-Reay both drive for Andretti Autosport.
Power, this year’s Indianapolis 500 champion, returned to the top of the season standings. He’d fallen from first to third after Saturday’s race, in which Dixon outlasted Hunter-Reay for the win.
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