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Andretti has 2 reasons to celebrate in Baltimore

What a weekend it was for Michael Andretti.

Not only did Andretti successfully pull together the promotion of the Grand Prix of Baltimore, but race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay is a member of Andretti’s team.

In this picture taken with a fisheye lens, Ryan Hunter-Reay, center, poses with the trophy in victory lane after winning the IZOD IndyCar Grand Prix of Baltimore. At left is runner up Ryan Briscoe, of Australia, and at right is Simon Pagenaud, of France, third place finisher. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

“It’s been a crazy weekend,” Andretti said, and it was not an overstatement.

Andretti pulled the whole race together in just over three months after replacing a promoter that backed out.

“You can’t even do a wedding in 100 days,” he joked.

But Andretti’s team did just that, and although attendance appeared to dwindle a bit compared to the inaugural year, part of that dropoff could be attributed to the fact it rained on Saturday and Sunday.

“It could have been better, but I think Mother Nature didn’t help this weekend. I think that might have kept some people back,” Andretti said. “But I think overall it was still a successful event.”

Especially for Andretti, who took great delight in seeing Hunter-Reay grab the checkered flag and move within 17 points of leader Will Power heading into the final race of the year.

“It’s nice when a plan comes together,” Andretti said.

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ALL WET: Driving on the streets in wet weather and without much gas is a problem for the common man, and one fourth-place Scott Dixon experienced Sunday.

Dixon lamented the rain that wasn’t necessarily hard enough to warrant an unquestioned change from slicks, and he second-guessed himself about an untimely pit stop.

“It was a tough day,” Dixon said. “We missed a little bit on picking the wets and the slicks and that kind of crossover,” he said. “I guess it’s luck, really, whether it’s going to rain or not.”

Later in the race, Dixon had bigger problems.

“We went off strategy big-time at the end there,” he said. “We pitted really early and had to save a lot of fuel on black tires. It’s probably one of the hardest stints all year, to try and get speed and try to save fuel. It was a crazy finished there.”

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CARPENTER CAN’T FINISH: For the first time this year, Ed Carpenter couldn’t finish what he started.

Carpenter was the only driver to finish every race in 2012 until Sunday, when he ran into the wall after a brush with the chicane on Lap 8.

“I was trying to gain time through the chicane and I just pushed too hard and hit the wall,” he said. “I’m pretty frustrated.”

Carpenter had one top-10 finish this year over 13 races. No. 14 turned out be the unluckiest of all.

“Our car has done a great job throughout the season with a well-prepared car to finish every race,” he said. “We’ll just lick our wounds and get ready for the big oval at Fontana (Calif.).

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VAUTIER WINS INDY LIGHTS: Tristan Vautier led from start to finish in the Firestone Indy Lights race Sunday, defeating Gustavo Yacaman by 15.3783 seconds to move into the top spot in the point standings.

Vautier won the pole Saturday and received bonus points for leading the most laps on Sunday. He holds an 11-point lead over Esteban Guerrieri, who finished third, heading into the final race of the year in California.

“It was a great weekend, a great race. Really satisfying,” Vautier said. “The track is very intense, technical. It was a lot of work in the car.”

Vautier It was the fourth win of the year for Vautier, who covered 35 laps in just over 50 minutes. He has nine top-five finish in 11 races.

Yacaman passed Guerrieri on Lap 4 after their cars made contact battling for second entering a sharp right-hand turn.

“I had a winning car,” Yacaman said. “The impact with Estaban just shattered all the chances of a better result.”

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