IndyCar Driver Review: Ryan Hunter-Reay

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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series field. Finishing sixth after a year where he hit the jackpot in May, but again had too much bad luck that sabotaged his season on the whole was Ryan Hunter-Reay.

2014 SEASON PREVIEW

Ryan Hunter-Reay

  • Team: Andretti Autosport
  • 2013: 7th Place, 2 Wins, 3 Poles, 6 Podiums, 7 Top-5, 9 Top-10, 297 Laps Led, 5.4 Avg. Start, 11.6 Avg. Finish
  • 2014: 6th Place, 3 Wins, 1 Pole, 6 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 9 Top-10, 195 Laps Led, 10.2 Avg. Start, 10.9 Avg. Finish

It almost seems that Ryan Hunter-Reay’s ticked off the racing gods whenever major success hits him. He won the 2012 IndyCar championship after a ten-year fight to the top, then was completely overlooked in the offseason and struggled through an inconsistent, turbulent 2013.

Fast forward to 2014 where RHR wins the Indianapolis 500 in dynamic fashion, and he’s seemingly at the peak of his powers with four top-two finishes from the first five races (and only a momentary lapse at Long Beach cost him a fifth). Then 11 of his final 13 races of 2014 are disastrous at best. Go figure.

Post-Indy, RHR endured a nightmare Detroit, suffered a mechanical issue in Texas, missed the setup in Houston but fought to two top-10s, had a suspension failure in Pocono, stole the Iowa win, had contact with TK in Toronto, spun at Mid-Ohio, qualified poorly, recovered and then had another suspension issue in Milwaukee, scored a surprise second in Sonoma and spun again in Fontana.

In some respects, RHR mirrored the season of the last two ‘500 winners, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan – he hit the ultimate one-race season-high, but didn’t have a great overall year to complement it. On the bright side, armed with a contract extension with Andretti Autosport and sponsor DHL, he has job stability, and renewed desire to bounce back in 2015.