Rahal Rolls To MAVTV 500 Win
FONTANA, Calif. — It was a wild, wide, dangerous and historic afternoon at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday.
Pack racing at more than 210 mph produced five-wide action, three major crashes and seven yellow flags, and it finished under caution with Graham Rahal claiming the checkered flag at the IndyCar Series MAVTV 500.
“I wasn’t the quickest up front — I actually struggled when I was out front — but those last couple laps worked,” Rahal said. “I hung onto the bottom line.”
A spectacular crash with two laps remaining totaled Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe, and Rahal cruised across the line ahead of Tony Canaan and Marco Andretti.
“It was crazy race so I’m glad I’m in one piece,” Kanaan said. “It was a great race for fans (but) I’d like four you guys to try. It’s tough, it’s stressful (and) it makes you say, ‘Do you want to keep going this like that?'”
It was an IndyCar master class through 135 laps, with tenacious back-and-forth, four- and five-wide racing, but Helio Castroneves was pinched against the wall by Rahal and spun onto the infield.
“I said ‘Dude, you don’t need to do that.’ So I’m kind of like lifting, and all of the sudden people are coming and start chopping.” Castroneves said. “It was a long ride sideways.”
There were 83 lead changes among 14 different drivers — both new track records — but drivers were clearly concerned about the dangers over the excitement.
“That was chaotic. I’m just glad everyone was OK,” said rookie Sage Karam, who finished fifth.
Both Hunter-Reay and Briscoe were checked by medical staff, cleared and released.