Ryan Hunter-Reay maintained the momentum generated by a sizable early advantage to win the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday.
Other than a full-course yellow flag on the opening lap, it was a relatively clean race at the typically physical track that defines the spectacular Barber Motor Sports Park.
Here is a look at the final results from the top drivers. For the complete listing, visit IndyCar.com.
|1||1||Ryan Hunter-Reay ||—
|2 ||9||Scott Dixon ||-.6363
|3 ||3||Helio Castroneves ||-17.6821
|4||83||Charlie Kimball ||-20.6166
|5 ||12||Will Power ||-26.6469
|6 ||77||Simon Pagenaud ||-27.2995
|7||25||Marco Andretti ||-27.7175
|8 ||19||Justin Wilson ||-30.5504
|9 ||67||Josef Newgarden ||-41.1029
|10 ||55||Tristan Vautier ||-58.0458
The first 13 laps saw many drivers grab the lead, but Hunter-Reay—who entered as the pole-sitter—dominated from then on. Helio Castroneves made a serious charge, though, despite losing a bit of time in his last pit stop due to fuel issues.
Hunter-Reay adjusted to the push that Castroneves made by attaching lighter tires on his final trip to pit lane.
An amazing pass by Hunter-Reay in which his tires caused smoke to kick up on the track with 15 laps to go wound up being the difference. Castroneves may have ultimately faded, but he does lead the IndyCar Series points standings in the early going thanks to Sunday's top-three effort.
Scott Dixon was the runner-up at this event three years in a row entering the race, and battled to thrust himself prominently into contention once again. The two-time IndyCar champion pulled to within less than a second down the stretch, as he and Hunter-Reay separated themselves from the rest of the field.
However, Dixon couldn't quite dig out of the early hole, and had to once again settle for a runner-up finish.
The Indianapolis Star's Jim Lefko provided a humorous cross-sports analogy to highlight Dixon's perpetual disappointment in Birmingham:
Hard to believe someone could finish second 4 years in a row. Scott Dixon did it, behind Ryan Hunter-Reay today at Ala. #buffalobillslament— Jim Lefko (@jimlefko) April 7, 2013
Traditionally a force at this venue, Will Power held the lead briefly on Lap 30, but never seriously threatened in the end, finishing in fifth.
This was a massive triumph for Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport. The defending IndyCar Series champion had never finished in the Top 10 in this event, and redeemed a disappointing season-opening finish of 18th in St. Petersburg.