Ryan Hunter-Reay

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Ryan Hunter-Reay
PLM12 Ryan Hunter-Reay.jpg
Hunter-Reay at the 2012 Petit Le Mans
Nationality American
Born (1980-12-17) December 17, 1980 (age 33)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
2014 IndyCar Series
Debut season 2007
Current team Andretti Autosport
Car no. 1
Former teams A. J. Foyt Enterprises
Vision Racing
Rahal Letterman Racing
Starts 110
Wins 9
Poles 5
Fastest laps 6
Best finish 1st in 2012
Previous series
2000–2001
2002
2003–2005
Barber Dodge Pro Series
Toyota Atlantic Championship
CART/Champ Car World Series
Championship titles
2012 IndyCar Series
Awards
1999
2002
2007
2008
2012
Skip Barber Big Scholarship
WorldCom Rising Star Award
IndyCar Rookie of the Year
Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
A. J. Foyt Trophy (Oval Champion)

Ryan Hunter-Reay (born December 17, 1980) is a professional American race car driver best known as a multiple race winner in each of North America's top open wheel formulas, CART,[1] the Champ Car World Series[2] and the IndyCar Series.[3] He won the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year award in 2007, despite only competing in six of the seventeen events, and Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors in 2008. In January 2010 Hunter-Reay was signed to drive for Andretti Autosport in the #37 IZOD sponsored IndyCar, where he won the prestigious Long Beach Grand Prix and Andretti Autosport's first win under the sole ownership of Michael Andretti. In October 2010, Andretti Autosport announced they had signed Hunter-Reay to a two-year contract through 2012. Hunter-Reay currently drives the No. 1 IndyCar.

The #28 typically on his race car (not used as Andretti Autosport is the first team since Chip Ganassi Racing after the 2003 season to not opt out of the reigning series champion team's right to use #1) is a show of support for the estimated 28 million people living with cancer worldwide. Hunter-Reay, who lost his mother to colon cancer in 2009, continues to be a leader in the fight against cancer and serves as a special envoy for LIVESTRONG foundation (which he is now the primary spokesman in light of a series of scandals in 2012) and serves as an ambassador for 'Racing for Cancer', an organization founded in 2010 to help build awareness in the global fight against cancer.[citation needed]

Career history[edit]

Early years[edit]

After winning six national karting championships, the Dallas, Texas-born Hunter-Reay won a Skip Barber Karting Scholarship to race in Skip Barber Formula Dodge Series. He then won the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship in 1999 and then a shoot-out against the top Formula Dodge drivers for the Skip Barber Big Scholarship prize and its $250,000 prize. Racing in the Barber Dodge Pro Series from 2000 to 2001, Hunter-Reay won the Rookie of the Year award in 2000, and claimed two wins in 2001. He then proceeded up the Champ Car developmental "ladder" to the Toyota Atlantic Series in 2002, where he finished sixth overall in the points standings, won three races, and led the circuit in laps led, poles, and fast times. This secured him the Worldcom "Rising Star" Award and attention from several Champ Car teams.[citation needed]

Champ Car[edit]

In 2003 Hunter-Reay joined the Champ Car World Series, driving for the first-year low-budget American Spirit Team Johansson. Although handicapped with a slower Reynard chassis and three separate engineers, he impressed many with a front row start and third place finish at Mid-Ohio, as well as a win at Surfers Paradise where he qualified as the top Reynard and worked his way up to fifth on a diabolical wet/dry changing track. He opted for a high-risk strategy and pitted on the first lap of a mandatory three lap window to take on slick tires, managing to do what a lot of veterans could not and keep his car on the track and incident free. Through three restarts, he beat first ex-Champion and teammate Jimmy Vasser and then Briton Darren Manning for the win.

In 2004, Hunter-Reay moved to the Herdez Competition team, where he recorded the team's first ever pole and won in dominant fashion at Milwaukee, leading all 250 laps and setting a Champ Car series record for most laps led in a single race. He qualified on the front row at Road America; however, a first-lap back-of-the-track incident where his ex-teammate Vasser forced him off before "RHR" returned the favor at the next corner moved both drivers to dead last. Hunter-Reay fought his way back to a fourth place finish; however, other than at Toronto (where he was running third on the last lap until Patrick Carpentier ran into the back of him and cut down a tire forcing him to pit), the remainder of the season was inconsistent.

In 2005, Hunter-Reay moved again, this time to the uncompetitive second seat at the Rocketsports Racing team. He struggled through most of the season without an engineer and rarely ran near the front of the pack. His rookie teammate Timo Glock was somewhat more successful, almost winning at Montreal with a lucky pit strategy; however, other than that both drivers' best result was a sixth place finish. While Glock would go on to win Rookie of the Year honors, Rocketsports took on a pay driver for the last two races of the season and released Hunter-Reay from the team.

A1 Grand Prix[edit]

In 2006–2007, Hunter-Reay began working with A1 Team USA in the A1 Grand Prix series. He was due to make his debut in Beijing however problems occurring at the circuit meant that track time was curtailed and he never got to drive. His debut proper took place in the 6th round of the series held in Taupo, New Zealand.

2007[edit]

In January, Hunter-Reay co-drove with 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Marc Goossens, and car owner Jim Matthews in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Early on the #91 Lowe's Pontiac Riley ran at the front of the field, but shortly after Hunter-Reay relinquished the driving duties to car owner Matthews, the car was damaged in a crash and although the team managed to work back up into 10th place with only a couple hours left in the race, the car suffered engine failure in the 22nd hour.

On July 19, Rahal Letterman Racing announced that Hunter-Reay would be replacing Jeff Simmons, who had been dismissed after a series of incidents, in the team's #17 ethanol sponsored car in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series for the rest of the season. Hunter-Reay began his IRL career with two top 10 finishes, placing 7th at the Honda 200 and 6th at the Firestone Indy 400.

On September 9, Hunter-Reay placed 7th at the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 – his 3rd Top 10 finish of the season. Despite only starting in six races, his performance was sufficient to win the 2007 Bombardier Rookie of the Year award.

2008[edit]

Hunter-Reay practices for his first Indianapolis 500 in 2008.

Hunter-Reay returned to Rahal Letterman for a full season in the IndyCar Series for 2008. Because Hunter-Reay did not attempt the Indianapolis 500, by rule, he was eligible for the race's rookie title in 2008, which he won by finishing in 6th place, one spot ahead of fellow rookie Hideki Mutoh. On July 6, Hunter-Reay scored his maiden IndyCar Series win in the Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International. He led 9 of the race's 60 laps having passed Darren Manning on a late restart. He would go on to beat Manning by 2.4009 seconds. Following the triumph at "The Glen," Hunter-Reay would post top tens in five of the final seven rounds (Australia did not count toward the 2008 championship) to finish 8th in the final standings.

2009[edit]

At the onset of 2009, Hunter-Reay was left rideless after Rahal Letterman announced they would not be running a full season due to a lack of sponsorship, but was able to sign a late deal with Vision Racing a few days prior to the race in St. Petersburg. In his debut race with the team Hunter-Reay finished second to Ryan Briscoe. The second place finish was the best for Vision Racing in the IndyCar Series. His other finishes in 2009 with Vision were notably less successful, failing to finish in the top 10 and having to qualify in the final minutes of Bump Day in order to make the field for the Indianapolis 500. After the race at Texas Motor Speedway, Vision and A. J. Foyt Enterprises announced that Hunter-Reay would move to Foyt's team to replaced the injured Vitor Meira for the remainder of the season.

2010[edit]

Hunter-Reay in 2010.

Hunter-Reay began his 2010 racing season in the Grand-Am series, where he teamed with three other drivers to pilot the #95 car in the Daytona Prototype class for Level 5 Motorsports at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The entry completed the grueling 24-hour race four laps off the lead in third place. Hunter-Reay drove the final stint, bringing the car home to a podium finish.

On January 4, it was announced that Hunter-Reay would drive the #37 Izod sponsored car for Andretti Autosport. The deal was initially for a partial season, lasting only through the Indianapolis 500. In the first race of the season, the São Paulo Indy 300, Hunter-Reay led for 20 laps and finished 2nd to Will Power, relinquishing the lead on lap 58 of 61. Three races later, Hunter-Reay won the Grand Prix of Long Beach in dominating fashion. This on-track success led to additional sponsorship, culminating in the announcement prior to the race at Watkins Glen that Hunter-Reay would pilot the #37 car for the full season. Hunter-Reay finished the season with three podiums, six top 5 finishes, and twelve top 10 finishes (including a stretch of eight in a row). He finished a career best 7th in the final points standings.

On October 29, it was announced that Hunter-Reay signed a two-year contract with Andretti Autosport to drive with the team through the 2012 season.

2011[edit]

Hunter-Reay in the 2011 Indy Japan 300 at Motegi.

Hunter-Reay returned to the Izod IndyCar Series driving the #28 DHL/Sun Drop sponsored car for Andretti Autosport. The year began with high expectations, but the season’s first-half results were disappointing. Despite having some good cars, mistakes and bad luck caused Ryan to finish no better than 14th through the first six races. Ryan twice qualified his car on the front row (Long Beach and São Paulo), and he was contending for a possible win at Long Beach when his race ended on lap 72 of 85 due to a gearbox malfunction. The disappointment culminated at Indianapolis when he failed to qualify for the 500-mile race, having been bumped by the last car as time expired. Despite not qualifying, he ran the race anyway after his team bought the starting position of Bruno Junqueira who had qualified for the event in the #41 car of A. J. Foyt Enterprises. This caused some measure of controversy though it was not the first time a team had done so. Hunter-Reay finished 23rd. After finally getting his first top-10 in the second race at Texas, Hunter-Reay finished last at Milwaukee after crashing on the first lap of the race.

Hunter-Reay’s season finally turned around when he began a string of seven straight top-10 finishes with an 8th place at Iowa. He had podium finishes at Toronto and Mid-Ohio, and gained a controversial win at New Hampshire. The New Hampshire race result was protested, but a review committee upheld Hunter-Reay’s victory. After a bad-luck incident late in the race at Motegi resulted in a 24th place finish, Ryan finished the season with a 5th place at Kentucky. Despite the poor start to the season, Hunter-Reay battled back to finish 7th overall in the points standings with a very strong second-half. In 17 races, he had one win, four top 5 finishes, nine top 10 finishes, and 3 DNF.

In addition to Indycar, Hunter-Reay was hired by Level 5 Motorsports to drive a Lola-Honda LMP2 prototype in the 2011 12 Hours of Sebring. Hunter-Reay helped the car finish first in the LMP2 class despite problems dropping the car to 20th overall.

2012[edit]

Hunter-Reay racing at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

Once again, Hunter-Reay raced the #28 DHL/Sun Drop car for Andretti Autosport for the shortened fifteen-race season. Hunter-Reay did not emerge as a title contender until the middle of the season, when he took three consecutive race victories in Milwaukee, Iowa and Toronto. However, disappointing results at Mid-Ohio and Sonoma left him thirty-six points behind championship leader Will Power. Hunter-Reay recovered to win again in Baltimore as Power finished sixth, forcing the championship fight to be resolved in the final round at Fontana. Both Power and Hunter-Reay took grid penalties for unscheduled engine changes, starting thirteenth and twenty-second on the grid respectively. Power crashed out early on, leaving Hunter-Reay with the task of finishing fifth or better to secure the title. After interruptions late in the race forced the action to be suspended to allow the race to finish under green-flag conditions, Hunter-Reay crossed the line fourth, becoming the first American to win the IndyCar championship since Sam Hornish won the title in 2006, and the first American champion of a unified open-wheel series since Al Unser, Jr. won the 1994 title.

Prior to season-ending race at Fontana, it was announced that Hunter-Reay signed a contract extension to remain with Andretti Autosport through the 2013 and 2014 Indycar seasons. It was announced December 5 that Hunter-Reay's 2013 DHL sponsored Chevrolet will showcase the #1 in recognition of his 2012 Indycar championship.

As the 2012 IndyCar Series champion, Hunter-Reay was invited to participate in the 25th edition of the Race of Champions on December 14–16 in Bangkok along with F1 racing legends like Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. His teammate of Team Americas was the Mexican driver Benito Guerra Jr., champion of Production World Rally Championship in 2012.[4][5] [6]

2013[edit]

Ryan Hunter-Reay kicked off 2013 by competing in the Rolex 24 of Daytona on January 26–27, driving the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide sponsored Chevrolet-Dallara Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing. Hunter-Reay shared driving duties with regular Grand Am drivers Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor. The entry finished on the podium with an overall second place, being one of just three DP class cars to finish on the lead lap. It was Hunter-Reay's best finish in the Rolex 24, topping his previous best finish of third in 2010.

On March 16 Hunter-Reay teamed with drivers Simon Pagenaud and Scott Tucker to pilot the #552 entry for Level 5 Motorsports in the 2013 12 Hours of Sebring. The Honda-powered car finished eighth overall and second in the P2 class, one lap down to the class-winning #551 car, giving Level 5 Motorsports an impressive 1-2 finish.

Motorsports career results[edit]

American open-wheel racing results[edit]

(key)

Barber Dodge Pro Series[edit]

Atlantic Championship[edit]

CART/Champ Car[edit]

^ New points system implemented in 2004.
Years Teams Races Poles Wins Podiums
(Non-win)
Top 10s
(Non-podium)
Championships
4 3 43 1 2 1 15 0

IndyCar Series[edit]

* Season still in progress
1 Run on same day.
2 Non-points-paying, exhibition race.
3 Failed to qualify; subsequently replaced Bruno Junqueira in a car owned by A. J. Foyt Enterprises.
4 The Las Vegas Indy 300 was abandoned after Dan Wheldon died from injuries sustained in a 15-car crash on lap 11.
Years Teams Races Poles Wins Podiums
(Non-win)
Top 10s
(Non-podium)
Indianapolis 500
Wins
Championships
7 4 109 5 9 12 36 0 1 (2012)

Indianapolis 500[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
2008 Dallara Honda 20 6 Rahal Letterman Racing
2009 Dallara Honda 32 32 Vision Racing
2010 Dallara Honda 17 18 Andretti Autosport
2011 Dallara Honda DNQ Andretti Autosport
Dallara Honda 33 23 A.J. Foyt Enterprises
2012 Dallara Chevrolet 3 27 Andretti Autosport
2013 Dallara Chevrolet 7 3 Andretti Autosport

Complete A1 Grand Prix results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Complete American Le Mans Series results[edit]

* Season in progress.

Marriage[edit]

Hunter-Reay is married to ex-ChampCar pit reporter, and off-road racer, Beccy Gordon.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise Australia in 2003
  2. ^ The Time Warner Cable 250 in Milwaukee in 2004
  3. ^ The Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International
  4. ^ http://www.periodico.am/aguascalientes/benitoguerraesconvocadoalraceofchampions-53342.html
  5. ^ http://www.raceofchampions.com/News/general-news/guerra-to-partner-hunterreay-on-team-americas.aspx
  6. ^ http://www.raceofchampions.com/drivers/ryan-hunter-reay.aspx

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dario Franchitti
IndyCar Series Champion
2012
Succeeded by
Scott Dixon
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Marco Andretti
IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year
2007
Succeeded by
Hideki Mutoh
Preceded by
Phil Giebler
Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
2008
Succeeded by
Alex Tagliani
Preceded by
United States Tony Stewart
Best Driver ESPY Award
2013
Succeeded by
Incumbent