Sport Ryan Hunter-Reay ‘all smiles’ and no regrets in leaving Andretti; optimistic about future

06:25  25 september  2021
06:25  25 september  2021 Source:   nbcsports.com

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Hunter - Reay was the 2007 IZOD Indy Car Series Rookie of the Year award winner, despite joining the series in midseason. In 2003, he became the first American rookie in 20 years to win an Indy car race when he took the checkers at Surfers Paradise, in Australia. It was very clear in his statements on Monday that he's excited to join the Andretti team. Adding some depth on the team is something the other drivers are excited about, too. With four strong contending drivers entering next season, there will be more opportunities for wins, as well as more good information to share.

The latest Tweets from Ryan Hunter - Reay (@RyanHunterReay). 2014 Indy 500 Champion, 2012 @IndyCar Series Champion. Driver of the #28 DHL Honda @FollowAndretti IndyCar. @RacingforCancer Ambassador -watch this video. Ryan Hunter - Reay Retweeted Steve H. Shunck. Heartbreaking. Can’t say enough about Robin. His unrelenting passion for our sport was unmatched. Glad I had the opportunity to see and spend some time with him less than 2 weeks ago at his favorite place in the world, IMS.

LONG BEACH, California — As a 12-season NTT IndyCar Series run at Andretti Autosport comes to an end, Ryan Hunter-Reay is upbeat about the future of his career.

  Ryan Hunter-Reay ‘all smiles’ and no regrets in leaving Andretti; optimistic about future © Provided by NBC Sports

A few hours after his replacement at Andretti formally was introduced, the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indy 500 vowed that he “absolutely” would be in a race car again.

“I’m all smiles, absolutely, racing at one of my favorite racetracks in IndyCar,” Hunter-Reay said Friday after turning the fifth-fastest lap in the opening practice for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. “You can either go through it with a big smile on your face or you can just be mad and kick the can all the time. That’s how I’ve always been, enjoy it, go forward with a positive attitude, that’s what I’m doing for sure.

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Hunter - Reay posted on Instagram: “Unlucky or lucky? I’d say I’m extremely fortunate to have the IndyCar aeroscreen here. Thank you to all involved for making this safety innovation a reality.” Sunday’s crash began when Newgarden lost control of his car in the middle of traffic in the fifth turn. The Team Penske driver and Andretti failed to complete a lap after the wreck, which also impacted Colton Herta, Felix Rosenqvist and Max Chilton. Herta was involved in a similar airborne wreck last year when his car got airborne over the cockpit of Rinus VeeKay in a restart incident at Iowa Speedway.

It appears that the Times' concern is foremost warning and preparing people on what might come, but also, spreading more fear, make people more vulnerable, weaker, further breaking down the human auto-defense system. The kind of language applied by the NYT piece, leaves an innocent reader defenseless, in fear "caving in to whatever may come". That explains how they will keep property prices and rents high got to ensure that whatever population is left are still forced to be wage slaves.

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“I’ll be 41 in December. I still feel like I’ve got race wins in me. Yeah, just the right opportunity and the right situation, and we’ll see where that leads.”

For the first time since the 2010 season, the path will lead away from Andretti Autosport and the No. 28 Dallara-Honda (which will be driven by Romain Grosjean next year).

Though the news became official Sept. 14, Hunter-Reay said Friday that he and car owner Michael Andretti had agreed last November that the 2021 season would be his last with the team.

During the news conference with Grosjean, Andretti also noted the move had been planned in the offseason while praising Hunter-Reay’s commitment to the team.

Hunter-Reay said he had wanted to change Andretti’s mind with his performance this season (“If you hit a stride, things can be reworked”), but that hope faded over the course of 15 races with no podiums (and a best finish of fourth at Nashville).

“It’s been coming for a while,” Hunter-Reay said. “Going into this year we knew this was our last year together. I’ve been with this team for 12 years, have been with the same engineer longer than I’ve been married, and I’ve got three kids, so go figure that one out. Definitely been here a long time.

“In sports, in business, anything like that, everything evolves. It always does. Change is inevitable, and it’s a good thing usually. I think it’s definitely a good time to shake things up. I wish Andretti Autosport, Romain and (sponsor) DHL the best. I’m looking forward to that next chapter and the challenges that lie ahead.”

After winning twice in Champ Car, Hunter-Reay moved to IndyCar in 2007 and raced for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Vision Racing and A.J. Foyt Racing before joining Andretti. He scored 15 of his 16 victories in IndyCar with the team.

Hunter-Reay’s career straddled “The Split,” which broke IndyCar racing into two separate series from 1996-2008 and left drivers and teams scrambling for sponsorship and stability.

Ryan Hunter-Reay leaves Andretti with the series on an upward trajectory, and he noted the future while sitting on a stage Friday alongside young stars Colton Herta, Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward and two-time series champion Josef Newgarden.

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“Obviously we had a great run,” Hunter-Reay said. “We checked all the major boxes off. Certainly some got away at times.

“It’s definitely great to see where IndyCar is headed with this group up onstage, what they have coming over the years to come, all the interest in IndyCar.

“I was coming up in karting, and right when I sat in my first car, ‘The Split’ happened. Man, that was a long recovery back. I’ve been in the trenches the whole way. To see it where it is now is absolutely fantastic. To compete up at the front for a race win here this weekend is really what I’m here for. It’s the only thing that matters.”

The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native said he took the most pride in “having to claw my way through” in becoming an IndyCar stalwart. Despite missing the 2006 season, he returned and kept making the most of his limited auditions.

“I raced for like 12 different teams, something crazy,” he said. “Driven for all of them, Andretti, Rahal, Foyt, you name it I’ve been there. It’s been tough. That’s what’s really made me. ‘Hey, here is a two-race opportunity, go make do with it what you may.’ I had to be fast, keep care of the car, bring the results home.

“It made me the driver I was throughout the championship fights, throughout all those wins and stuff like that. Absolutely, I wouldn’t want to do it another way.”

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The 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will be the 239th start of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s IndyCar career and his last at Andretti Autosport (Chris Owens/IndyCar). © Provided by NBC Sports The 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will be the 239th start of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s IndyCar career and his last at Andretti Autosport (Chris Owens/IndyCar).

Fittingly, one of those moments happened at Long Beach, where he won April 18, 2010 in only his fourth start with Andretti.

“It was make-or-break time, for sure,” Hunter-Reay said. “We came out at (the season opener in Brazil) and finished second. At this race we won. It was huge. I didn’t know at the time, but our sponsor was IZOD. They were on for three races. It’s L.A. Everybody was here. They had Mark Wahlberg out, the whole thing. It was fun. We won.

“Yeah, we got the call that week that we’re going to a full season. Haven’t looked back since. Won the team’s only championship in 16 years. Now we’re sitting here talking about that next chapter. It’s definitely some great, great memories.”

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