It was a roller coaster ride on a wet track for Team Ethanol at the IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix in St Petersburg, Florida on Sunday.
Spirits were high for driver Ryan Hunter-Reay at the start of the race where he had qualified for sixth pole position. After ten laps behind the pace car in the rain, the field opened up and Hunter-Reay spun out, dropping him down to 23rd.
The 2007 Rookie of the Year fought his way back to the top, led for four laps, and had third place pretty well sown up – if he had just been able to stretch his ethanol for another minute or so. He finally finished 17th.
(Read Motorsport.com’s description of Ryan’s race and “why he is considered one of the better road racers in the IndyCar Series.”)
There were no complaints about the finish from No. 17 car owner Bobby Rahal of Rahal Letterman Racing. He was one proud papa as his 19-year-old son Graham won the race, making history as the youngest major open wheel race winner ever. It was Graham’s first Indy win in his first Indy race. Bobby Rahal had said at the beginning of the race that he was “conflicted” about who to root for – his own driver or his own son. So, call it a bittersweet victory for Rahal – probably more sweet than bitter. A third place finish for Team Ethanol would have just been icing on the cake.
Photo Credit: Chris Jones, Indy Racing League