WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- After finishing 21st at Texas Motor Speedway a week earlier, Ryan Hunter-Reay arrived at the Milwaukee Mile clean-shaven.
"It wasn't an injector problem," he joked, "it was a facial hair problem."
Maybe he was more aerodynamic in the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car, but any way you slice it he glided around the oval in the second half of the 225-lap Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ and won for Andretti Autosport.
Click it: Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ box score
That was appropriate as Andretti Sports Marketing came to the rescue of the IZOD IndyCar Series event in February to promote it. Before calling for drivers to start their engines, Michael Andretti announced that the race would return in June 2013.
"What a race. The script is perfect," said Hunter-Reay, who won at the Milwaukee Mile in 2004 in CART and recorded his sixth Indy car win. "Michael (Andretti) loves the sport and does a lot for it. Milwaukee and INDYCAR go hand-in-hand. This is the oldest racing facility in the country and we just won. It’s awesome."
Hunter-Reay, who started second, led Tony Kanaan across the start-finish line by 5.1029 seconds.
"It was one of the most physical races I've ever driven," added Hunter-Reay, who overtook Helio Castroneves for the lead (for good as it turned out) in Turn 3 on Lap 142. "You're always on edge, always busy in the car."
Kanaan moved up from the sixth starting position in the No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Elctronics/KV Racing Technology car, earned his second podium finish of the season. He has finished no worse than fourth in six of last eight starts at the Mile.
"I didn’t have anything at the end for Ryan, but great event," Kanaan said. "I love to see the stands as full as I’ve ever seen here. Thanks to Michael and his people who put this event back together. I love this place. It was a long day, but this is typical Milwaukee. That’s why I love this place. You’ve got to drive it. If you don’t drive it, you never get it, so I’m extremely happy."
James Hinchcliffe was third and Oriol Servia jumped from the 20th starting position to finish fourth. E.J. Viso, who led his first laps since June 2011 at Texas, finished fifth (his first top five since Iowa in 2010).
Will Power, who finished 12th, retained the IZOD IndyCar Series championship lead. Hinchcliffe moved into second (31 points back). Chevrolet-powered cars swept the podium.