NEWTON, Iowa -- The box score shows that Ryan Hunter-Reay advanced a field-high 10 positions to finish second in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by DEKALB. That needs an asterisk.
The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion started 12th in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by DEKALB after a day of practice and qualifying in which "nothing went right."
He fell back to 21st after service stops to replace the front wing of the No. 1 DHL car for Andretti Autosport, which made contact with the rear of Graham Rahal's No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires car on Lap 37. Hunter-Reay worked his way up to sixth when the third/final yellow flag flew for debris on Lap 155. He was running third 20 laps later and moved to second on the final round of pit stops.
Second place, combined with championship points leader Helio Castroneves finishing eighth, put Hunter-Reay nine points behind in the standings. The Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco will be his 100th consecutive start.
"It was so challenging out there," said Hunter-Reay, who won at Iowa last year. "Just had a lot of imbalance in the first stint. I just had a lot of understeer and really had to push to get by Graham, and I just kept my foot in it trying to pop right out of the corner, and when I did I was right under his gear box. I just had no downforce on the front wing and when I turned it, there goes the front wing. It's that easy to make a mistake.
"Overall, had great day, had a lot of fun, got angry a few times because of some lapped cars that were just racing a little too hard. But it was a really good day, good points, to finish second after being dead last. And (June 22) we had a nightmare of a day. So really happy that we were able to bring the No. 1 DHL Chevy home in second. Would have liked the repeat but once again. The Andretti cars were the cars to beat here at Iowa."
Other major advancers were Josef Newgarden (+7 to 15th) in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car; James Jakes (+6 to 18th) in the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing; and E.J. Viso (+6 to 10th) in the No. 5 Team Venezuela-PDVSA-CITGO car for Andretti Autosport.