Honda Indy Toronto Race Report
What a day for Andretti Autosport and Ryan Hunter-Reay, as the No. 28 DHL/Dr Pepper Chevrolet crossed the finish line first for the third consecutive IZOD IndyCar Series race, winning the Toronto Indy. Hunter-Reay now leads the championship standings by 34 points over Will Power with five races remaining in the 2012 season. Hunter-Reay led 36 laps, and he matches Dan Wheldon as the only Andretti Autosport drivers to win three consecutive races. Wheldon accomplished the feat in 2005 on his way to the IndyCar championship. He has led a career-best 139 laps so far this season.
Here is a partial transcript of the post-race news conference with Hunter-Reay:
“We just had to stick with it,” Hunter-Reay said. “No matter if you’re 14th, you just have to keep giving it 110 percent and sometimes it shakes out for you. All day, the DHL/Sun Drop team had the right strategy and the right race car. We had good pit stops and I got things done on the track. I think these past three races have been my best ones ever. This is really a testament to the Andretti Autosport team. Everyone did an awesome job and I have found a great home here. It is about continuity and chemistry and we are firing on all cylinders right now. Like I said last weekend, when we get it right, we’re tough to beat. This is all so much fun to be a part of and I want it to continue. Thank you to all of the fans for your support. I love IndyCar and my dream is to be winning here and to be a championship contender. It means a lot to win in Toronto, especially since my mom is from Hamilton, not too far from here.”
Q: It doesn’t get old, does it?
“No it doesn’t. It’s so much more fun doing it this way. I think we’d rather just keep doing this. This is awesome. There’s a championship run going on right now. I’m a part of it as much as everybody on this team is and they did excellent pit stops. They gave me the car to win today. We had it when it mattered again – at the end. We don’t need to win the beginning of the race. We need to win the end and it’s been such a pleasure. I can’t even believe – three races. This is going to take a second to settle in. Now. I’m thinking we’ve got to do it again next weekend.”
Q: First time in a while that we don’t have the name of Will Power or Dario Franchitti at the top of the standings. How does that sound?
“It sounds awesome, man. I love it… These past three races, I think, have been my best ever races on the tires and conserving them. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re doing it. It’s just … I can’t even believe this!”
Team owner Michael Andretti also participated in the news conference. Here is a transcript of his media session.
Q: Your name is synonymous with victory here at Toronto. (Andretti won a record seven times as a driver in Toronto.) Talk about getting the first win as a team owner.
“What can I say, I love Toronto. I think everybody knows that. It’s been a great track to me as a driver. We struggled here a little bit from the owner’s standpoint. It was great to finally get to Victory Lane. Ryan did a fantastic drive. The team did great pit stops. The whole DHL team, couldn’t ask for a better team for them.”
Q: How formidable do you see Ryan being in the championship?
“I think he’s a real factor in the championship. He’s really strong on these types of tracks as well. He doesn’t have a weakness when he’s driving. That’s what you need to have as a driver. As a team owner, to have a driver like that, that’s something we liked about Ryan, that we could be competitive on all types of tracks. We’re looking forward to the next how many races we have. I don’t think there’s a weak track for him.”
Q: Michael, as a driver and as an owner you’ve seen streaks. What do you advise your driver who is on the hottest streak of his career how to handle it going into the next few races?
“Don’t do anything different than you’ve been doing the last three races. He’s been late every Thursday for his engineering meeting, so he’s got to plan on being late for the next one in Edmonton. I don’t think Ryan should do anything different. I don’t think the team should do anything different. We should just continue to do our job. If everybody does their job, we should be okay. If there’s no mistakes made the rest of the year, I think we have a good shot at winning the championship.”