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article imageINDYCAR: Hunter-Reay rebounds from Long Beach to win in Alabama

By John Duarte     Apr 28, 2014 in Sports
Birmingham - Ryan Hunter-Reay was in a groove on Sunday afternoon. He waited out the rain, stayed out of trouble during the race and brought his car home to win the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
In the ever-changing conditions, as the track went from wet surface to dry pavement, patience was the key according to Hunter-Reay.
“It was just tiptoeing around,” he said. “There's a very fine line between getting it all right and getting it all wrong.”
At the end of the race, the winner of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama said that he just had to go about his business and let the race play out.
“Knew it was going to be close to make it all work out because it was so easy to make a mistake today,” he said. “We knew it would be tough here today. When it came to race time, I had the car in the wet, I had the car in the dry. (My crew) gave me exactly what I needed.”
He added that driving an IndyCar in rain or on a wet track is always challenging. The driver can't afford to break concentration for even a second.
“You have to go on the risk side to get the reward out of it, but it is easy to throw it all away,” Hunter-Reay said.
The race winner was happy to get the win, especially since the incident two weeks ago at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, when his actions on the racetrack triggered a seven-car pile-up. He also added that the Alabama win held special meaning because of his history at the track.
“I am thrilled. This victory feels really, really good,” Hunter-Reay said. “This track used to be one of our weakest points. It was a huge race for us.”
The changes began even before the race got started. A two-and-a-half hour rain delay forced IndyCar officials to announce the Grand Prix of Alabama would be a timed race and run 100 minutes as opposed to the 90 originally-scheduled laps. Sixty-nine laps later. Hunter-Reay crossed the finish line with the race under yellow-flag conditions due to a crash in the closing stages of the event.
In the end, Hunter-Reay said it would have not mattered if the race had gone its scheduled distance rather than being a shortened timed event.
“I'm confident we could have won today either way,” he said. “I had a great race car in the dry there at the end. It was a dream to drive. When you are having that much fun driving a car, usually things come out pretty well.”
Hunter-Reay's teammate, Marco Andretti, finished second, but it was quick to admit that it was not an easy afternoon. He fought off numerous challenges from Scott Dixon during the second half of the race, but managed to hold on to second place and keep Dixon in third.
“I didn't have a radio, so the only way I knew when to pit, I saw out of the corner of my eyes, Ryan stop and thought 'I guess I'm coming in the next lap.' It was definitely a blind race,” Andretti said. “I just put my head down and looked forward. (My) Snapple car didn't have much for the DHL car (Hunter-Reay), so we definitely need to hit the drawing board and see how he kicked my butt today.”
For Dixon, it was another frustrating race at the Alabama racing facility. He had finished second in the previous four races at Barber Motorsports Park and finishing third this time around seemed just like par for the course.
“It was an interesting day,” Dixon offered. “Generally, the race went fairly smoothly. It was good to fight with Marco for a bit although we didn't have anything for them.”
Will Power keeps his spot at the top of the drivers' standings. He has an 18-point lead on Hunter-Reay and is 32 points ahead of Simon Pagenaud.
The Verizon IndyCar Series will now take to the road circuit at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a new event for the series. The Grand Prix of Indianapolis will run on May 10, 2014.
More about verizon indycar series, Ryan HunterReay, grand prix of alabama, Auto racing
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