Sunday’s race on the streets of was setting up to be an instant classic before a multi-car wreck eliminated several of the top contenders, including race leader , pole-sitter and .

With 24 laps to go, Newgarden exited pit lane with the race lead ahead of Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe, but had colder tires than the two Andretti Autosport teammates. As they raced into Turn 4, Hunter-Reay made a bold move by trying to pass Newgarden on the inside, and it proved to be costly.

The two made contact and triggered a pileup in the blind corner, collecting Hinchcliffe, Helio Castroneves , and rookie .

“I was on cold tires, it’s very hard to control the car, I knew Hunter-Reay was on hot, and at some point he was probably going to get me,” Newgarden said. “But I didn’t expect anyone to come up on the inside of four. There’s so little room there, you normally can’t make a pass, even if something like that is going on … the next thing I knew I was in the wall and I was just getting plowed into by everyone.”

Newgarden’s team owner was less understanding and used Twitter to blast Hunter-Reay.

 

Hunter-Reay was hesitant to accept blame during a TV interview, stating that it was a heat of the moment decision to attack through Turn 4 and both drivers could have given more room.

“I went for it. I could have waited a little bit later, maybe that’s my fault,” he said. “Giving each other a little bit of room – both of us – would have got us both through there but it’s down to me to make the pass, I guess, I’m not sure. A lot of people say it’s my fault. I made the decision at that split second when he had some wheel spin to go for it, that’s the type of driver I am. I go for it.

“You don’t know how down I am. Just very, very disappointed. I’ll look at it again, but as a racing driver, when he’s in the moment and he sees a chance to go for it, I went for it because I want to win the race.”

Hours later, Hunter-Reay took to Twitter to accept blame and further explain his actions.

 

 

Of the drivers involved in the crash, only Castroneves and Hawksworth were able to continue in the race. Castroneves finished 11th for Penske Racing while Hawksworth was 15th, three laps down.

The seven-car pileup set up a duel between Scott Dixon and Mike Conway, with Conway claiming the victory after Dixon was forced to pit late in the race for fuel. Will Power finished second ahead of Carlos Munoz, Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,