Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay is out of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after crashing into the tire barriers at Turn 8 on Lap 49 of the 80 lap race.
Hunter-Reay was seeking to go to the inside of Ana Beatriz but carried too much speed into the corner and went into the tires. He will be credited with a 23rd place finish after winning the most recent IZOD IndyCar Series race two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park.
The American driver was already mired in the back after sustaining damage in an earlier incident that also involved Andretti Autosport teammates James Hinchcliffe and E.J. Viso, as well as Tony Kanaan. Hinchcliffe’s car came out the worst in the run-in at Lap 35 and the Canadian was knocked out of the race.
“Some of the corners that are my strongest were my weakest today,” Hunter-Reay told the NBC Sports Network when he got out of the car following his crash at Turn 8. “I started just trying things. We were in the back anyway. I had to go for it, and got inside of Ana, and I just drove in too hot. There was no grip on the inside there.
“I was just trying things — anything to make a bad day go a little bit better. But it just went from bad to worse. I feel bad for the guys. They gave me a great car all weekend. We just missed it today and I absolutely missed it out on the track.”
Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).
So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.
Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.
“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.
“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”
The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.
Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.
Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago: