Ryan Hunter-Reay disappointed, but relieved after Barber performance


It’s not often you hear a driver in any racing series say they’re a mixture of disappointed and relieved after racing to their best result of the season.

But that’s the sentiment Ryan Hunter-Reay shared after achieving a fifth-place finish in the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

“We just don’t have it right now,” Hunter-Reay told NBCSN after his best performance since finishing second Sonoma last year.

“That was about as good as we were going to get today. Had to hold off some cars there that didn’t have a problem with fuel, like Graham (Rahal) and Will (Power) was a little better than us on fuel.”

The Andretti Autosport driver compared the final segment of the 90-lap race to being “a lame duck.”

A lame duck was far from what Hunter-Reay experienced the last two years when he claimed wins at the track.  But after a sluggish start to the year, the American needed a boost. Sunday didn’t start that way with RHR rolling his No. 28 DHL Honda off the grid in 18th.

With tires a concern, the No. 28 team took to pit strategy early, pitting on Lap 12.

“We knew what we were going to do early with strategy,” Hunter-Reay said. “Saved a lot of fuel today, that worked out for us.”

After the first round of pit stops had ended about 25 laps in, the 2012 Verizon IndyCar champion was already in the top-10 in seventh place.

Hunter-Reay’s biggest fireworks came in the final segment of the race when racing with Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Sage Karam.

In an echo from the NOLA race two weeks ago, Hunter-Reay was holding Karam off before the rookie passed on his inside coming out of a turn.

Hunter-Reay found himself squeezed off the track and into the dirt before quickly recovering.

“That was interesting wasn’t it?” Hunter-Reay said. “I told him, ‘That was pretty slick, you know.’ … How Race Control didn’t call that, but they called me on it is beyond me, but I’m not even worried about it. We’ll figure it out. We need to make this car goes faster, we need to run up front and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to do that.”

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.