Ryan Hunter-Reay scored his second Verizon IndyCar Series victory of 2015 Sunday at Pocono Raceway in northeastern Pennsylvania, powering his Andretti Autosport Honda through the field to win the ABC Supply 500, but his triumph was overshadowed by a late-race crash that left teammate Justin Wilson hospitalized with a severe head injury.
On Lap 180 of the 200-lap contest, Wilson struck debris on track from the car of Sage Karam, who had crashed just seconds earlier. Wilson’s car then veered to the inside wall, making heavy contact with the SAFER barrier. He was quickly removed from the car and transported to Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, PA., where he is currently in a coma and listed in critical condition. Karam escaped serious injury in his crash.
An otherwise exciting race was marred by multiple crashes, resulting in a dozen caution flags. Hunter-Reay led a total of 29 laps to add the Pocono win to his victory earlier this year at Iowa Speedway. Honda drivers claimed five of the top 10 finishing positions, with Carlos Munoz fifth in his Andretti Autosport Honda. Takuma Sato took the checkers sixth for A.J. Foyt Racing, while the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports duo of Ryan Briscoe and James Jakes finished eighth and tenth, respectively.
Series rookie Gabby Chaves had one of his strongest outings of 2015, leading 31 laps for Bryan Herta Autosport.
Graham Rahal’s quest for the drivers’ championship took a hit after contact from Tristan Vautier sent both cars hard into the outside wall. Neither driver was injured, however Rahal scored only a handful of points due to his early retirement, and now trails championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished third today, by 34 points with just one race remaining.
The Verizon IndyCar Series now heads west to Sonoma Raceway, just north of San Francisco, for the championship-deciding, double-points season finale the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday, August 30.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 8th, finished 1st, his 2nd IndyCar Series victory of 2015: ““This team has given me great race cars over the years and this was one of them. We came through the field many times today. I hope the fans enjoyed the show because it was fun in the race car. We knifed through the field about five times, I think, and there wasn’t anybody out there that we couldn’t get around. It was a pleasure to drive today. Obviously, first and foremost, we’re thinking about Justin Wilson. With heads exposed and when you get flying debris, it’s a bad luck deal. Our thoughts are with him. I know him and his family well, they’re great friends of ours. Really, really just thinking about Justin right now.”
Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race: “Our thoughts are with Justin Wilson, his family, friends and many fans. All of us at Honda are thinking of him right now, and today’s win by Ryan Hunter-Reay, and the championship, are very much secondary.”