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Hunter-Reay wins 2nd straight year in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Ryan Hunter-Reay coasted to his second straight victory at Barber Motorsports Park when the rain-shortened IndyCar race finished under caution.

A full-course caution came out for the final seven minutes of the timed race after rookie Mikhail Aleshin lost control and went off the track. That left Hunter-Reay unchallenged, with Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti finishing second.

Scott Dixon was third, followed by Simon Pagenaud and pole-sitter Will Power, a two-time winner at Barber who was among the drivers dealing with a slippery track in spots.

“He was out there cutting the grass,” Hunter-Reay said. “I had to take advantage of that. It was so easy to do that today. I almost lost this race three times.”

There was some slipping and sliding after the field switched from the wet tires with several drivers leaving the track.

“That was horrible for everybody,” Hunter-Reay said. “It was like an ice-skating rink.”

He passed Power on lap 18 when the Australian left the track and skirted by the tire barrier before pulling back onto the track.

It’s the 12th career win for Hunter-Reay, who was alone up front during the caution until Andretti pulled even at the finish line to savor the moment with his teammate.

“They’ve given us great cars here, and second win in a row for Ryan is awesome,” said Andretti, whose radio worked only sporadically down the stretch.

Dixon said running a time race was “annoying” and Andretti said it removed some strategy from the formula.

Drivers were focused on handling the track conditions, not payback from any lingering anger over Long Beach clashes.

Hunter-Reay started that race on the pole and led the most laps before an aggressive pass attempt ended up with a wreck collecting seven cars.

Aleshin walked back to pit road while the rest of the field finished. Earlier Sebastien Bourdais had spun the Russian from behind, leaving him stalled. Bourdais received a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

The race was a change-up for Dixon, who finished second in each of the first four races at Barber.

“We went the wrong way, but it was an interesting day,” Dixon said. “Whenever you have a rain delay it sort of puts a strain on everybody trying to figure out what we need to do.

“The cars were pretty good. The track suits wet conditions. There were a few areas with standing water.”

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