Gone are the days of Indy runaways, because the aerodynamic rules allow cars to draft up on each other and pass so easily. So there would be no breakaway, Hunter-Reay understood early on.
"We had like a four-second lead at one point, and they just ate it right up," he said. "So, no, it wasn't anything where I was going to be pulling away.
"But I knew that if I got into a fight with somebody that I had the upper hand for sure."
After starting 19th but moving up quickly, "the car was doing everything I needed it to do, to put it right where I needed to, to win the race," Hunter-Reay said.
"And I'm glad we did. Because I'd be so down about losing with that car."
He showed that upper hand for keeps to Castroneves at the white flag but still was concerned, fearing a recurrence of the nightmare the Andretti team had suffered in 2006. That was an all-American shootout between Hornish and Marco, and Hornish drafted up and pulled a slingshot pass at the checkered flag.
"On the last lap I was worried that Helio would be able to draft up and pass me, just like Hornish did to Marco in 2006," Hunter-Reay said. "That was playing on my mind going down the backstretch, for sure."
In the pits, "I thought, 'He's still gonna pull it off, and he did," Andretti said. "He drove a perfect lap."
Still, "I had to be aggressive," Hunter-Reay said. "I had to come off Turn 4 low, so that Helio couldn't draft up as well. I think that was the difference. Had I come off high, he'd have been right in my slipstream, and probably would have gotten by."
"As expected, this race was ridiculously close," Hunter-Reay said. "I'm just glad I picked the right time to go."