TORONTO – Flat oval, banked oval or street course, the Midwest or Canada: Ryan Hunter-Reay is proving he can dominate anywhere on the IndyCar circuit.
Hunter-Reay became the first American-born driver in six years to win three straight IndyCar races, taking the Honda Indy Toronto under caution Sunday.
In the process, he took over the series points lead and, with five races left, finds himself in position to become the first American to win the title since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006.
“Three in a row, I don’t know what to think about this,” Hunter-Reay said. “We just need to really enjoy it. It’s nice to have realized that we’re in this position. And this is what I’ve always wanted. But now we have to take hold of it and go get it done.”
Starting from the sixth position, Hunter-Reay took the lead for good on the 57th lap. He then managed to avoid a series of pileups following a restart on the 82nd lap of the 85-lap race.
The trouble began when Sebastien Bourdais was sent into the wall by Charlie Kimball on Turn 1. A few seconds later, Dario Franchitti, Ryan Briscoe, Simon Pagenaud, Ed Carpenter and Marco Andretti became entangled in two crashes on Turn 3.
Hunter-Reay made it through the first turn, just beating Kimball to the corner and holding him off before the yellow flags came out. Kimball was second, followed by Mike Conway.
“That’s Toronto,” Hunter-Reay said. “Turn 3 is mayhem corner.”
Hunter-Reay continued his surge up the standings, moving 34 points ahead of Will Power, who finished 15th, and 46 ahead of Helio Castroneves, who took sixth.
Franchitti, the defending champion and pole winner, continued to struggle. The Scot finished 17th, in part because of a dreadful first pit stop in which he stopped too far from the wall. That cost him extra time as a crew member had to move his car closer because the fuel hose couldn’t reach.
■ NHRA – At Norwalk, Ohio, Spencer Massey raced to his fourth Top Fuel victory of the season to regain the points lead, beating Steve Torrence in the final of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
Massey had a run of 3.916 seconds at 312.50 mph. Torrence finished in 3.894 seconds at 315.71.
Mike Neff (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won their respective divisions.
■ FORMULA ONE – At Silverstone, England, Red Bull driver Mark Webber won the British Grand Prix, overtaking Fernando Alonso to move closer to his rival in the race for the Formula One championship.
Webber pursued pole-sitter Alonso from the start and finally passed the Ferrari driver on lap 48 of 52. Webber pulled within 13 points of Alonso with his second victory in this unpredictable season. Alonso is the only other driver to win more than once in 2012.ALLMENDINGER MUM ON NASCAR SUSPENSION
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – AJ Allmendinger was silent Sunday, a day after NASCAR suspended him for failing a random drug test.
Penske Racing, which gave Allmendinger the biggest break of his career this season, is withholding judgment until NASCAR’s system has been completed.
Where that leaves the 30-year-old driver remains to be seen.
“It’s a disappointment at this particular time, but we’re going to wait and see what the second test results are before we make any comment or decisions. I don’t think it’s fair to him,” team owner Roger Penske said Sunday before the IndyCar race in Toronto.
“I think if you look at sports, things like this happen. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t want to really make a statement pro or con right now. I’m counting on the test being proper for him within 72 hours, and at that point they’ll make a decision.”
Allmendinger was randomly summoned June 29 in Kentucky to provide a urine sample to NASCAR. Per NASCAR guidelines, the specimen was split in two for an “A” and a “B” sample. NASCAR announced 90 minutes before Saturday night’s race at Daytona that Allmendinger’s “A” sample had failed the test.
NASCAR didn’t reveal what Allmendinger tested positive for, and Allmendinger hasn’t commented publicly since the announcement.
He has 72 hours from Saturday to ask for his “B” sample to be tested, and Allmendinger would be subject to an indefinite NASCAR suspension if that sample also comes back positive.
The suspension caught the Penske organization flat-footed, and the team had to scramble to get Sam Hornish Jr. off a television set in Charlotte, N.C., and back to Daytona in time to start the race in the No. 22 Dodge. A tire problem just past the halfway point caused Hornish to spin, and he finished 33rd in Allmendinger’s car.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS