IRL: Hunter-Reay and Manning upset the form book

By Andy Darley

CalendarSunday, July 6th, 2008

 
 

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Darren Manning showed you don’t need to be a well-funded multi-car outfit to nail an IndyCar race by taking first and second ahead of the more fancied teams in the Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.

Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates victory at Watkins Glen

Andretti Green’s Tony Kanaan in third was the only one of the championship leaders to post a decent finish as Helio Castroneves fell victim to technical gremlins, Scott Dixon blundered a way a shot at a fourth straight victory on the course, and Dan Wheldon was taken out by Manning.

Justin Wilson, who’d qualified second, fell victim early on to a gearbox leak.

A full report and photos will follow tomorrow but, for tonight, here’s how the race unfolded on our Twitter feed:

  • Maybe 20mins left to IndyCar at Watkins Glen… . Can Justin Wilson (or Dan Wheldon or Darren Manning) make it two British winners today?
  • Well that was a grim start… Wilson loses places, Wheldon cuts the bus stop and needs to pit to fix damage – or retire.
  • So it’s Briscoe leading, Hunter-Reay second, Dixon third having given back the place he took by jumping the start. Kanaan fourth, then Servia, Moraes (who started 13th) and Wilson.
  • It seems Wilson and Manning are going at it hammer and tongs but we don’t get to see it as the indycar.com streaming video only tracks the leader…
  • Looks like we’ve lost Helio as well as Wheldon… yellow flag… two of the championship leaders gone already – happy days for Dixon
  • Much pitting under yellow, including Wilson… leaders all stay out. What is it with N/H/L and pitstops? They can’t resist bring Justinho in whenever there’s a yellow.
  • Ah balls, Wilson’s race is as good as over. Gearbox leak. Still in the pits and 3 laps down already if he made it out now. Which he won’t.
  • Meanwhile, Dixon is hunting down Briscoe. Manning still running well – though he may have been responsible for finishing off Wheldon
  • Wheldon likely to come out again, for what it’s worth. Wilson won’t. Looks like Howard might be out too. Very casual pit crew, they say.
  • Briscoe and Dixon pit on the same lap, two-stopping… Briscoe has the faster stop. Vitor Meira now leading?
  • Meira, three-stopping, finally pits from the lead.
  • Briscoe and Dixon lead… a lot depends on whether there’s another yellow or not… if there ain’t, a 2-stop strategy may be impossible
  • Ah bless – reports of Justin Wilson walking back from his car, climbing 4ft fences while fans hold his gear, then signing autographs…
  • Wilson interviewed – they didn’t know how much oil had leaked from the gearbox when they sent him out again. Lasted 10 laps then *pof*.
  • Meira’s out – unstuck while lapping Duno and into the tyre wall. Manning pits and is close to having the legs to make a 2-stopper.
  • IndyCar.com timing saying Meira “may have been touched by EJ Viso”. Oooh missus!
  • Mass pitting. Danica Patrick seems to have hit a bouncing tyre and ploughed into the scattering Ganassi mechanics. No harm done.
  • Darren Manning perfectly placed as a result of that yellow… could he – nah, let’s not jinx him.
  • Wheldon blames Manning for his retirement and says “you can see why AJFoyt is going to fire him”. Ouch.
  • We’re green. Manning keeps the lead, Dixon wins a bunfight for second with 3 others… we’re yellow again for Bernoldi coming off
  • Let’s face it – if Manning blows this, he probably WILL be fired…
  • Still yellow… it’s Manning – Dixon – Briscoe – Hunter-Reay behind the safety car.
  • Could be yellow for a while… AJ Foyt IV and Milka Duno wrapped round each other out on the circuit… AJF not looking happy.
  • The commentary is stuck in a pre-recorded loop but it looks like we just lost Dixon and Briscoe, the Kiwi spinning and hit by the Aussie
  • If that’s real and not a recording from a previous race, the odds REALLY just shifted Manning’s way
  • Well, they’re both running… but nowhere near the front. Hunter-Reay is second… then Kanaan and Junqueira.
  • Dixon radioed his pits he’d been warming the tyres and spun. “Apologise to Ryan Briscoe it was bloody stupid”. “I agree” Chip Ganassi said.
  • Green racing – Hunter-Reay seizes lead from Manning
  • Camara spins out – another yellow. It’s Hunter-Reay, Manning, Kanaan. Not many laps left. 51 of 60 completed.
  • We’re running again – Hunter-Reay streaks off, Manning in danger from Kanaan and Buddy Rice
  • 56 of 60 complete – Hunter-Reay well ahead, Manning’s tyres have come back and he’s holding station ahead of TK… Rice holding off Andretti and Junqueira
  • One lap to go – this is Hunter-Reay’s to lose and there’s no reason to think he will. Manning may be protected by TK’s need to secure points
  • With Dixon outside the top 10 and Wheldon and Castroneves nowhere, Kanaan is the real winner today even if he stays third
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay takes his debut win the in the Ethanol Rahal Letterman machine… does donuts in the run-off area in celebration
  • Manning confirmed second, TK 3rd, Rice 4th, Andretti 5th, then Junqueira and Moraes
  • Phew. Manning happy – AJ Foyt happy (doesn’t seem to blame Danger Mouse for losing the lead on the restart) – Ryan Hunter-Reay VERY happy

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