Ryan Hunter-Reay LBGP's Indycar Man

Date: 4/20/2010 12:08:00 AM

April 18 
Ryan Hunter-Reay LBGP's Indycar Man
By Walter Elliott
 LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Ryan Hunter-Reay put aside
earlier disappointments and applied patience to win the
36th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Sunday afternoon.
 The second-starting Hunter-Reay took advantage of
poleman Will Power's momentary shifting problem exiting
the turn 11 hairpin on lap 18. The IZOD Andretti Autosports
No. 37 Dallara-Honda driver led the remaining 64 laps around
the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street course for a 5.6031 sec.
victory margin on Justin Wilson.
 Power, who said that he had a brief shifter power problem
on his Verizon Penske Racing No. 12, salvaged third place
and retains the IRL IZOD Indy Car Series points lead. Scott
Dixon, who was the race's only other leader, finished fourth
among the 20 runners.
 Hunter-Reay, of Boac Raton, Fla., dedicated the victory to
his mother, who died from colon cancer in November. Car
owner and Nazareth, Pa., native Michael Andretti added
that the triumph will help him secure sponsorship to
continue fielding Hunter-Reay beyond the Texas Motor
Speedway round in June.
  The victory also took away the disappoinment of not
starting in the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series race
Saturday afternoon. He and car owner Scott Tucker had
qualified their Level 5 Racing No. 95 Oreca FLM09 PC class
car 20th Friday among a field of 36, only not to start the
100-minute race.
 Simon Pagenaud made a last lap pass Adrian Fernandez on
and put his Patron Highcroft Racing No. 1 HPD ARX-01c
ahead by .353 sec. on the latter's Lola- Aston-Martin. The
pair plus respective co-drivers David Brabham and Harold
Primat had traded the lead three times in the 67-lap race's
last six circuits.
 The overall and ALMS LMP1 division victories are the first
for the Danbury, Conn., Highcroft team here since Brabham
had won the 2008 edition with a penultimate lap pass.
 Gunnar Jeannette and Elton Julian brought their No. 31
Oreca FLM09 home fifth a lap down to take LMPC class
honors over Tucker and Christophe Bouchut's No. 56. 
Seven of the economy spec class cars, which debuted in
the 58th 12 Hours of Sebring last month, made up the
four class field.
 Flying Lizard Racing teammates Jorg Bergmeister and
Patrick Long brought their No. 47 Porsche 911 RSR home
eighth two laps arrears of Pagenaud and Brabham to take
GT honors. Rebersburg, Pa.'s Butch Leitzinger and Juan
Gonzalez annexed the GTC division laurels by by Bringing
their Alex Job Racing No. 52 Porsche 911 GT3 C home four
laps down but 19th overall.
 Canadian James Hinchcliffe endured four cautions, slowing
the pace for eight laps, while leading the entire 45-lap IRL
Firestone Indy Lights race Sunday morning. The IRL IZOD
Indy Car Series headliner, by contrast, had a single full-
course caution (due to a collision between Graham Rahal
and rookie Mario Romancini on laps 60-64.)
 1998 LBGP winner Jimmy Vasser won the 34th Toyota
Pro/Celebrity race Saturday by edging twice SCCA
Formula Drift champion Tanner Foust by .645 sec. Brain
Austin Green took third as highest placed celebrity.
 Kuno Wittmer took the 29-lap SCCA World Challenge
Sunday nightcap by keeping his Dodge Viper 8.475 sec
ahead of Dino Crescentini's Porsche 911 GT3. Tyler
McQuarrie and his No. Louts Exige S took GTS honors by
finishing 18th two laps arrears.  
 FINISH (Running Unless Otherwise Noted): RYAN HUNTER-
REAY, Justin Wilson, Will Power, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan,
Mario Moraes, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Dan
Wheldon, Mike Conway, Vitor Meira, Dario Franchitti, E.J.
Viso, Danica Patrick, Simona de Silvestro (R), Takuma Sato
(R), Alex Lloyd (R), Raphael Matos; (DNF) Alex Tagliani (lap
65 - crash), Graham Rahal and Mario Romancini (R) (lap 58
- collision), Betrand Baguette (R) (lap 45 - mechanical),
Milka Duno (lap 10 - handling).
 DRIVER POINTS (Top 10): POWER-172; Castroneves-130;
Hunter-Reay-129; Wilson=125; Dixon and Franchitti (tie) -
112; Briscoe-103; Kanaan-94; Matos-84; Whelson-83.

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