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.”

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change