@olliekart Indeed he is.
And he still is after the race but he now has a new closest challenger – Helio Castroneves, who withstood fierce pressure from Takuma Sato in the closing laps to score his second win of the year.
Will Power charged through the field from 17th to third, passing Hunter-Reay on the way. The Andretti driver was not best pleased about the manner in which he did it – Power emerged from the pits just in front of him – but the stewards decided (rightly, in my view) there was nothing wrong with Power’s move.
Pole sitter Dario Franchitti slipped to sixth at the chequered flag behind Graham Rahal and Alex Tagliani.
This was the second year the championship had used the revised configuration at Edmonton and I’m not much more fond of it than I was the previous layout. It doesn’t lend itself to good racing – the various slow corners make it more like an F1 track, though much bumpier than anything on the current calendar, as Rubens Barrichello pointed out.
A lot of the jockeying for position came about due to the push-to-pass system, and they certainly needed it here. Castroneves’ thrifty use of the button in the opening laps was the cornerstone of his win as he had enough in hand to ward off Sato’s challenges in the closing stages, despite the RLL driver’s phenomenal and sometimes alarmingly late braking.
Hunter-Reay’s title lead is trimmed to 23 points with four rounds remaining. But Power, third and 26 points behind, is surely his greatest threat at this stage given his recent form and the fact that he got an engine change out of the way this weekend.
1. Ryan Hunter-Reay – 362
2. Helio Castroneves – 339
3. Will Power – 336
4. Scott Dixon – 301
5. James Hinchcliffe – 286
6. Tony Kanaan – 279