Hunter-Reay's jump gives joy

BALTIMORE — After a race that had a little bit of everything, Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrated his perfect timing and a much-needed victory.

Will Power cursed the weather and his awful luck.

Hunter-Reay won Sunday's Grand Prix of Baltimore, charging to the front on a controversial restart to stay in the IndyCar championship chase.

Power could have clinched his first title with a win and some help, but the pole-sitter was sixth in a race that drew nine caution flags and was marred by rain.

"I'm still trying to catch my breath," Hunter-Reay said. "Those restarts were crazy, crazy, crazy."

The last restart came on Lap 69 of 75. As leader Ryan Briscoe awaited the green flag, Hunter-Reay saw it and took off, moving from second to first. Briscoe said Hunter-Reay jumped the gun, but the officials ruled otherwise.

"Everyone had been going late," Hunter-Reay said. "Briscoe got jumped on that one, but the green flag was flying and he was sitting there in first gear."

Briscoe was second, followed by rookie Simon Pagenaud.

Power leads Hunter-Reay by 17 points; the finale is Sept. 15 on the oval in Fontana, Calif.

"Every weekend we are not just the quickest, but by a bunch," said Power, who led the first 18 laps but got shuffled back when he stopped for rain tires. "And circumstances seem to prevent us from winning. (Sunday) we lost it with the weather."

FORMULA ONE: Jenson Button won the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps after series leader Fernando Alonso was sent flying off the track in a Lap 1 wreck. It was Button's first victory at Spa, and he led from start to finish. Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel finished second and cut Alonso's series lead to 24 points. Going into the first turn on Lap 1, Romain Grosjean forced McLaren's Lewis Hamilton into the grass, sending both cars spinning. Grosjean's Lotus flew over Alonso's Ferrari, which took out Perez's Sauber. All four drivers escaped injury.

NHRA: Rain canceled the final two qualifying runs at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Courtney Force (Funny Car), Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock), and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) remained atop their classes for today's eliminations.

Hunter-Reay's jump gives joy 09/02/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 2, 2012 11:58pm]

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