NEWTON, Iowa (AP) — Ryan Hunter-Reay buried his post-Indianapolis 500 slump with a set of fresh tires that pumped new life into his title hopes.
Hunter-Reay blew past the field with two laps to go and won the IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday for his first victory since May.
Hunter-Reay hadn't led a lap since his victory in Indianapolis, and he spent most of the Iowa race far from contention. But he got new tires on a late pit stop and stormed past Tony Kanaan for his third victory in 2014. Kanaan led 247 of the 300 laps at Iowa's .875-mile oval.
"That was crazy. We took the tires as a big gamble," said Hunter-Reay, who jumped from fifth to third in the IndyCar standings by passing nine cars in nine laps. "That was fun. It was like a video game at the end. We had a tough day, but you have to keep your head in it."
Josef Newgarden finished second, followed by Target Chip Ganassi teammates Kanaan and Scott Dixon. Ed Carpenter was fifth.
Helio Castroneves finished eighth, taking sole possession of the series points lead.
Kanaan started on the front row with Dixon, the pole sitter, following promising qualifying sessions for a team that has struggled all year.
Down the stretch, the only question seemed to be which of the Ganassi drivers would give the team its first win of 2014.
No one saw Hunter-Reay coming.
He stopped a miserable six-race stretch without a top-five finish and gave Andretti Autosport its fifth straight win in Iowa.
It also was the second win in three years here for Hunter-Reay, who followed owner Michael Andretti's advice to take fresh tires even though such a move could have been too time-consuming to risk.
"It was just like warp speed. Cars are just flying by, one after the other," Hunter-Reay said. "At first you see 10 cars in front of you. Then you see eight. Then you see four. Then you see Tony."
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