Qualifying for this year’s Iowa Corn 300 told a story of Chevrolet dominance on the MidWestern oval, and only 2 of the top 10 qualifiers would asked you believe otherwise. It was a convincing story, but not a true story. Ryan Hunter-Reay and his DHL-sponsored Andretti Autosport Honda saw to that.
Hunter-Reay started the Iowa Corn 300 from 13th, back in the 7th row of the grid, didn’t look like he had a shot until lap 298. Frankly, if your name wasn’t Tony Kanaan, it didn’t look like this was going to be your day at all. Kanaan, who started second in the # 10 Target Chip Ganassi IndyCar, led 247 laps of the race, but Hunter-Reay and young Sarah Fisher’s young hot shoe, Josef Newgarden, had both stopped for tires an indicident involving Montoya and Carpenter brought out a caution with 20 laps to go.
The call for fresh tires proved to be the right one, and both Hunter-Reay and Newgarden (who started 21st) brutally robbed Kanaan of race positions on the last 2 laps of the race, relegating the Target Chip Ganassi driver to (a still respectable, but incredibly frustrating) third place.
“That was crazy. We took the tires as a big gamble and credit to (race engineer) Ray Gosselin and Michael Andretti for making that call,” said Hunter-Reay, whose two laps led at the Iowa Corn 300 were the first since he won the Indianapolis 500. “That was fun. It was like a video game at the end. We had a tough day, but you have to keep your head in it.”