IndyCar title-winning team owner Michael Andretti said he was relieved to see Ryan Hunter-Reay make it through an eventful season finale at Fontana to clinch the championship.
Hunter-Reay went into the race with a 17-point deficit to Will Power, but only needed to finish fifth to seal the crown after Power crashed out early in the race. Andretti said that his team had expected to have to deal with some surprises during the 500-miler.
"It was a crazy, crazy night," he said. "And that's exactly what we told [Hunter-Reay] going into the race, this is going to be a crazy race.
"It actually played out exactly the way I thought it would because we knew it was going to be tough. Especially in the beginning, and we knew it was going to be a race of survival."
Hunter-Reay had started from near the back of the field, but was able to improve his position throughout the race as his car responded to changes made during each pit stop.
"We had a car that was not so good in the beginning, and every pit stop we just kept making it better and better and better," Andretti said. "We made it good enough to get the job done to get in there and to be able to fight with at least getting in the top five.
"At that point, that's what we needed, and Ryan did one hell of a job, I can tell you. He drove his butt off when he needed to. He got this thing done."