Photo: Honda/Rose Parade

RHR to lead Rose Parade in Acura NSX, to kick off 100th Indy 500 chat

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Usually race drivers don’t wind up driving the pace car until years after their active career has come to a conclusion. See Rutherford, Johnny and Luyendyk, Arie as two modern day examples of Indianapolis 500 champions taking that approach.

Consider Ryan Hunter-Reay’s New Year’s Day opportunity an exception, then, and a very cool one at that.

Hunter-Reay will be driving a new 2016 Acura NSX to lead the Tournament of Roses Parade – albeit trading his 225-230 mph top speed for a 2.5 mph top speed he’ll have to maintain for 5.5 miles, or two hours and 12 minutes.

Next year’s Rose Parade presented by Honda is the 127th edition. Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indianapolis 500 and 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, will lead the field including Honda’s “Nature’s Hope” float along with 43 others.

The event takes place New Year’s Day at 11 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. PT on a number of networks, including NBC (others include ABC, HGTV, Univision, RDFTV).

For Hunter-Reay, who’s experienced a cool amount of items in his career, getting to lead the field joins the list of awesome opportunities.

“We discussed it for the 2015 Rose Bowl after winning the ’14 Indy 500, but the timing didn’t add up,” Hunter-Reay told MotorSportsTalk.

“We put it up now with the NSX hitting the road. It’s perfect timing. I’m honored to be representing the sport and IndyCar and Indy 500, as winner and champion.

“It’s a huge opportunity. First push for the 100th running of the 500.”

Hunter-Reay is yet to see the new 2016 NSX in person; the car has come a long way from a “prototype” it was when it made demonstration laps at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course a couple years ago.

“This’ll be the first time to go,” he said. “It’s a new year’s tradition. It’s pretty cool to get to do it as American champion.”

Hunter-Reay’s presence in the Rose Parade is a rarity for an IndyCar driver. Two-time Indy 500 winner Rodger Ward, who won in 1959 and 1962, was in the 1963 Rose Parade on the state of Indiana’s “Memorable Moments in Indiana” float. A replica of Rodger Ward’s 1962 Indy 500-winning roadster was on the float.

As for the Rose Bowl itself, Hunter-Reay said although he doesn’t have a particular favorite between Iowa and Stanford, he’ll lean more towards the Big Ten team.

“I don’t really have skin in the game. (But) I’d have to go for Iowa, (considering I have) three wins and the second place. That’s a special place. One of my favorite spots to go to.”

His day job, of course, is driving the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport.

You can see a full infographic of RHR’s Rose Parade game plan, below.

InformationGraphicRHRRoseParade

Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

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“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

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Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

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Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

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