James Hinchcliffe dominated the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on Sunday afternoon, leading 226 laps at Iowa Speedway en route to his first victory on an oval.
Hinchcliffe started the race on the outside pole, quickly took the lead going into Turn 1 and never relented, only giving up the top spot for green-flag pit stops. The victory is the third of his career and season — most in the IndyCar Series at the halfway point of the season.
Hinchcliffe had led just 33 laps on an oval prior to Sunday afternoon, and led all but 24 at Iowa -- a fact that completely wowed the Canadian racer.
"We just had to go off of experience and all credit goes to the team," Hinchcliffe said. "We have a great track record here but this year with so many different things and a day race, everything was different. We took a bit of risk.
"We wanted to make sure the car wouldn't get understeer because that kills you in traffic. I can't believe we led that whole thing. The guys were awesome in the pits."
Second-place Ryan Hunter-Reay had been closing on Hinchcliffe in the closing laps but was ultimately unable to make the move after getting stuck behind lap traffic.
The defending IndyCar Series champion had closed the gap to less than a second but was trapped by several cars more than one lap down, causing him to cross the line 1.509 seconds behind his Andretti Autosport teammate.
"It was so hard to catch back up to James and then lapped traffic," Hunter-Reay said. "It's one thing if you're a lap down but if you're five laps down or six laps down just making it tough on the leaders — it was uncalled for."
It was a good finish to a tough weekend.
Hunter-Reay struggled in qualifying and his heat race, and started 12th. He fell back to 22nd early on in the feature and remarkably finished second with a chance to win the race. He'll take it.
"Definitely had the car to win today but just made a mistake there trying to get by Graham (Rahal)," Hunter-Reay said. "The front just had no grip on it when I turned to pop out and pass him. Easy mistake. We had a tough weekend. To come second out of this thing, I'm pretty pleased with that."
Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, who had finished first, second and third the previous three seasons at Iowa, placed third. Ed Carpenter finished fourth, with Graham Rahal completing the top five.
Helio Castroneves finished eighth, and maintained his championship lead by nine over Hunter-Reay. The complete race results can be found below.
- James Hinchcliffe
- Ryan Hunter-Reay
- Tony Kanaan
- Ed Carpenter
- Graham Rahal
- Simon Pagenaud
- Oriol Servia
- Helio Castroneves
- Marco Andretti
- E.J. Viso
- Justin Wilson
- Charlie Kimball
- Tristan Vautier
- Sebastien Bourdais
- Josef Newgarden
- Scott Dixon
- Will Power
- James Jakes
- Sebastian Saavedra
- Dario Franchitti
- Simona De Silvestro
- Ana Beatriz
- Takuma Sato
- Alex Tagliani