Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay has endured a difficult 2017 season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Though he rebounded from a tough weekend at St. Petersburg to finish fourth, the next three races left a lot to be desired.
An electrical issue knocked him out of a sure second-place at Long Beach. A broken wing on the opening lap at Barber Motorsports Park immediately put him behind the eight ball and he could do no better than 11th. And he and the Andretti Autosport team struggled to find speed at Phoenix Raceway, where he finished 13th.
However, the INDYCAR Grand Prix saw an uptick in fortune for the former champion and Indy 500 winner. After starting eighth, Hunter-Reay methodically worked his way forward and was in the top five by the time the first pit stops started. He was able to pass Helio Castroneves for third in the final stint to take his first podium of the season.
“Nice to bank a result finally,” Hunter-Reay quipped in the post-race press conference. “It was nice to have a good solid result. We’re headed in the right direction.”
While he admitted an error entering his pit stall may have cost him a shot at battling for more, he acknowledged that Will Power and Scott Dixon may have had the measure on him regardless. “It was a great race. We had some excellent racing in the beginning. Scott and I went back and forth. In the end, I smoked it too hot in the pits and delayed my stop. But Will and Scott were just checking out,” he said of the competition.
The result moves Hunter-Reay to eighth in the championship as the Verizon IndyCar Series turns its attention to practice for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, which begins on Monday.
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