Hunter-Reay becomes seventh winner in 2008 Public to vote for Firestone “Tire”-rific move of the race Drivers reap post-race awards Bernoldi to be re-evaluated prior to Nashville
1. Hunter-Reay becomes seventh winner in 2008: Seven drivers representing five teams have claimed victories in the first 10 IndyCar Series races this season. Increased competition through additional cars entered week in and week out is one of the benefits being realized because of open-wheel racing unification.
"I don't think there's any question that the intensity level of this series has been ratcheted up," said Ryan Hunter-Reay, who recorded his first victory in the series and first for Rahal Letterman Racing since August 2004, in the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen on July 6.
"So all of a sudden, now to qualify in the top 10 or 12 is a real accomplishment. That's what you want. Everything coming together, it's amazing how tight the competition is. I'm so happy it's this way."
Hunter-Reay overtook leader Darren Manning in Turn 1 with nine laps remaining on the 3.37-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International circuit and held off challenges by Manning and Tony Kanaan after a final restart.
Competing in his 16th race, Hunter-Reay's previous best finish was sixth at Indianapolis this year, which earned the Chase Rookie of the Year award, and the same at Michigan last August. There have been signs of a breakthrough this season, including competing for second at Texas before a late-race incident.
"At the beginning of the year, (team co-owner) Bobby (Rahal) told me to go out there and make something of this," said Hunter-Reay, who collected his eighth top 10. "And to make something of building this team around myself and we all get along so great. It's really a special thing to be a part of. The fact that we've been building and get faster and faster and faster is a neat thing. And to finally win is huge."
The victory was eventful and special for Rahal, who competed in his first Formula One, Formula Atlantic and Can-Am races at The Glen.
"This is the crown jewel of American motorsports circuits," said Rahal, referring to the track that is celebrating its 60th anniversary. "So much history and so many great drivers have been here, and it is such a fantastic racing circuit, especially the long circuit.
"To win here, for us it has been a bit of a drought. Really what it boils down to is you have to have the right person in the driver's seat. And this guy, since the day he came on to the team and almost a year ago, he elevated the performance of the team immediately. We just got better and better."
2. Public to vote for Firestone “Tire”-rific move of the race: Fans will have the ultimate say in who receives a $10,000 race bonus from Firestone. After each IndyCar Series race, Firestone executives pick three “Tire”-rific Moves of the Race, on-track moves where the drivers had to rely on their Firestone Firehawk tires. Fans can vote for the winner at www.indycar.com.
Jaime Camara won the fans’ vote from the race at Richmond and was awarded $10,000 during pre-race ceremonies at Watkins Glen.
From the Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen, fans can choose from:
Ryan Hunter-Reay passing for the lead and win just after a Lap 51 restart. Darren Manning for use of pit strategy to finish a career-best second. Buddy Rice, who went 25 laps on his final set of Firehawks in advancing from 17th to finish fourth.
In past seasons, Firestone has awarded the bonus to the driver who led the lap that corresponded to the total number of races in IndyCar Series history.
3. Drivers reap post-race awards: Ryan Hunter-Reay reaped the benefits from winning the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen. Hunter-Reay was presented an IndyCar Series timepiece from Ritmo Mundo, the official timepiece of the IndyCar Series. Ritmo Mundo presents a timepiece to the winner of each IndyCar Series event in 2008. Hunter-Reay won the $5,000 DirecTV Crystal Clear Moment of the Race, and he also collected $1,000 from Bosch.
Ryan Briscoe collected $10,000 for the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by AutoZone. Vitor Meira won the $2,000 Lincoln Welders Hard Charger Award for being the race leader who started furthest back and Darren Manning collected the $2,000 XTrac Award.
4. Bernoldi to be re-evaluated prior to Nashville: Enrique Bernoldi will be re-evaluated at Nashville prior to the Firestone Indy 200 on July 12. Bernoldi complained of lower back pain after crashing during the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen on July 6. X-rays were negative.
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Firestone Indy 200 July 12 at Nashville Superspeedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 8 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Sunbelt Rentals 100 on July 12 at Nashville Superspeedway. The race will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) July 17 on ESPN2. The Corning Duels will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) July 10 on ESPN2 and live on indycar.com.