Ryan Hunter-Reay took the checkered flag in the MAVTV 500 to win his first career IndyCar title, overtaking points leader Will Power in the season finale.
Everyone who watched this race walked away satisfied. It was a riveting contest from start to finish, and Hunter-Reay's surprising overall title only made it more intriguing.
Power looked unstoppable coming into Saturday's race, but he lost control of his car early in the race. He did manage to return, but the gap was too large to overcome.
Let's recap the race with some Twitter reaction and post-race analysis.
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The Associated Press provided an interesting tidbit about the historical significance of Hunter-Reay's win:
For the record, Sam Hornish Jr. won the IndyCar title in 2006.
Takuma Sato finished seventh, but he could have won the race. 1260 WNDE host Jake Query gave some insight on Sato's unfortunate finish:
Takuma Sato crashed in turn one of the final lap of both #IndyCar 500 mile races— Jake Query (@jakequery) September 16, 2012
Sato also crashed in the Indy 500, allowing Dario Franchitti to take the checkered flag.
ESPN broadcaster Gary Gerould spoke to two of this race's overlooked aspects:
And kudos to Ed Carpenter for Fontana win.So much drama for Bob Jenkins final broadcast. Truly memorable!!— Gary Gerould (@ggerould) September 16, 2012
Saturday's race was Jenkins' final call after 30-plus years of broadcasting, and Carpenter's victory seems to get overlooked because of Hunter-Reay's IndyCar title.
Lastly, how about Will Power? Power entered the race as the points leader, but a crash dashed his championship hopes. Lotus GP racer Conor Daly had some kind words for Team Penske's handling of Power's car following the crash:
Conor Daly (@ConorDaly22) September 16, 2012
All in all, it was an excellent race. No one likes to see anyone crash, but they thickened the tension in the race's final laps. Carpenter traversed the field perfectly to earn his first win of the season, but Hunter-Reay's victory was the story of the hour.
Power entered the day as the favorite to win the race, but he fell victim to an unfortunate crash after 55 laps. Despite his disappointment, Power handled himself with class and dignity following the race.
It was an excellent season. Hunter-Reay erased a 17-point deficit to win his first career IndyCar title, adding to the final race's excellence.
Next year's IndyCar title chase should be just as good with this competitive field returning to do battle once again.