Associated Press

Hunter-Reay focused on a stronger 2016 IndyCar campaign

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Although he ended with a flourish and leapt from 14th to sixth in the final 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season, Ryan Hunter-Reay didn’t have the easiest season last year in his No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport.

The 35-year-old Floridian is usually a championship contender, and as one of only four drivers with both a series championship and an Indianapolis 500 win (Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya), it was weird to see him fail to contend for the majority of 2015.

Hoping that’s an anomaly, Hunter-Reay is determined to be better in 2016, and he’s optimistic the Honda aero upgrades for next year will be enough to see him and Andretti Autosport back in contention on a more regular basis.

He’s already had several tests this offseason at Road America and Mid-Ohio.

“I think it’s good for the sport, and the racing, to see the upgrades,” Hunter-Reay told MotorSportsTalk, in advance of his pacing the field during the Rose Bowl parade later this week in an Acura NSX. “On roads, streets and short ovals, we’ll be stronger for sure.”

Part of the optimism has come from the aero updates permitted by INDYCAR’s allowing of Rule 9.3, which allows a manufacturer to close a gap to its competitors.

Honda was outclassed by Chevrolet at the Indianapolis 500 race – Hunter-Reay was a non-factor this year after his incredible win and late-race pass of Helio Castroneves in 2014 – and really wants to improve there.

“We’re working on for a similar package, including the Indy 500. We’re focused on that. Rule 9.3 didn’t apply there. There were a lot of Chevys up front at end of the Indy 500. Hondas done a great job of progressing on roads, streets and short ovals, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Hunter-Reay learned of the decision for the Indianapolis 500 and Sonoma to continue to pay double points – as both did in 2015 – and is fine with it at Indianapolis at least.

“I’m a fan of the Indy 500 being double points, but I don’t think any other should be,” he said.

Meanwhile he also has a confirmed partial season sports car season with Visit Florida Racing, which he’s been able to do in recent years but not as much in 2015.

He’d raced with the SRT Viper program in 2014 and Wayne Taylor Racing and Level 5 Motorsports in 2013 for his sports car cameos. Last year, he only made a single start at the Rolex 24 at Daytona with Starworks Motorsport.

But the Visit Florida program reunites Hunter-Reay with past SRT teammates, and fellow Florida residents, Ryan Dalziel and Marc Goossens in a move that makes sense for all parties. Hunter-Reay will run at Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta as third driver, and will sub for Dalziel at Long Beach, where he will pull a unique double duty role.

“That’s a huge opportunity to work with the VisitFlorida.com team,” he said. “The Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 are extremely important. I have been second twice; once overall, and once in class.

“It’s one that I think it s avery important part of career. We have such a strong driver lineup, with Marc, Ryan and myself. Both of those guys are close friends. To team with them is a huge opportunity.

“Long Beach will be interesting. I’m going to do limited practice and then starting the car. My focus will be on IndyCar. But I’m tasked with doing the best job possible to fill in for Ryan Dalziel.”

Adam Cianciarulo sweeps to second straight Pro Motocross 450 win

Motocross Spring Creek Cianciarulo
Align Media
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Adam Cianciarulo (450) and Dylan Ferrandis (250) swept both motos of their divisions Saturday in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship event at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota, significantly impacting the points standings.

After scoring his first career victory Sept. 8 at RedBud, Cianciarulo made it two consecutive victories on his Monster Energy Kawasaki. He won the first moto by 1.7 seconds over Blake Baggett and the second moto by 2.7 seconds over Baggett.

“Man, what a dream come true,” Cianciarulo said. “I really wanted to go 1-1 last round at RedBud and had that silly mistake. Today, we got the job done and made it happen. Two consecutive victories in the 450 Class just feels really good. I just want to keep the ball rolling.”

With three rounds remaining, Cianciarulo is ranked second in the standings at a 15-point deficit to Zach Osborne, who won three of the first five rounds.

In the 250 standings, Dylan Ferrandis jumped ahead of Jeremy Martin (who won three consecutive events earlier in the season) by three points (257-254).

Dylan Ferrandis swept both motos for his second win of the season in the 250 class (Align Media).

Ferrandis beat third-ranked RJ Hampshire in the first moto and nipping Martin by 0.4 seconds in the second.

“That was a difficult race in the second moto and the pressure was on,” Ferrandis said. “It was really good for me to have that battle and come out on top in the second moto. The championship is really close and I think that we were able to put on a good show for everyone today. Jeremy [Martin] and I have a good relationship I think and we congratulated each other and talked about the battle after the race.”

NEXT: The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will hold its seventh round Sept. 26 with the Geico Motorcycle WW Ranch National at Jacksonville, Florida.


RESULTS

Thor Spring Creek National (Spring Creek MX Park, Millville, Minnesota)

450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (1-1)
  2. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (2-2)
  3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (5-4)
  4. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (8-3)
  5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (6-5)
  6. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (3-10)
  7. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda (7-6)
  8. Joey Savatgy, , Suzuki (9-7)
  9. Max Anstie, United Kingdom, Suzuki (10-8)
  10. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (4-16)

450 Class Championship Standings

  1. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 235
  2. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 220
  3. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 215
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 196
  5. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 194
  6. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 190
  7. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 173
  8. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 141
  9. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha – 134
  10. Joey Savatgy, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki – 122

250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-1)
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (5-2)
  3. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki (4-4)
  4. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (3-6)
  5. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (9-3)
  6. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (2-11)
  7. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (7-5)
  8. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Honda (12-8)
  9. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Kawasaki (11-9)
  10. Derek Drake, San Luis Obispo, Calif., KTM (8-12)

250 Class Championship Standings

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 257
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 254
  3. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 202
  4. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki – 194
  5. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Yamaha – 186
  6. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 164
  7. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 162
  8. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki – 140
  9. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Kawasaki – 123
  10. Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., KTM – 114
Adam Cianciarulo won the holeshot in both motos at Spring Creek (Align Media).