The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 8, 2013

Hunter-Reay holds off Dixon to win at Barber

(Continued)

"We couldn't get in the right slot and then committed to a different strategy," Power said. "We thought we had a good plan and just needed a yellow at any point after Lap 31. Unfortunately, it didn't come and we fought for the fifth-place finish. It isn't exactly what we wanted to get out of the weekend, but it is still a good points day and gets us closer to the top."

AJ Allmendinger ran seventh for most of his IndyCar debut but finished 19th after stalling his car during his final pit stop. But he was praised repeatedly by team owner Roger Penske, even after the mistake in the pits.

"Finish this and just learn, learn, learn. You are doing fine," Penske radioed Allmendinger.

Despite a showing that was praised by Penske and Castroneves, Allmendinger was frustrated with his finish in his first open-wheel race since 2006.

"I've got to improve on everything; 19th isn't good enough. I've just got to improve on everything," he said. "I've got to be a lot better than that; 19th isn't going to cut it, whether this is my first time or not."

Other frustrated drivers Sunday were St. Pete winner Hinchcliffe, who never got a chance to contend for a second consecutive victory, and four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti.

A poor qualifying result put Hinchcliffe at the back of the field at the start, where he was stuck in heavy traffic when the green flag waved. As cars jockeyed for position on the first lap, Graham Rahal and Oriol Servia made contact that collected Hinchcliffe and damaged his car. It left him with what he believed to be a tire issue, but the caution period wasn't long enough for IndyCar officials to tow him back to pit lane.

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