Mastering the Mile, Hunter-Reay outstanding in Milwaukee. Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the ...
Mastering the Mile, Hunter-Reay outstanding in Milwaukee.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the #1 Medlock Ames Winery/u.s. print/Toyota/Swift made his Atlantic oval debut at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin, with two successful days of testing last Thursday and Friday.
Hunter-Reay and his crew took to the track at the drop of the green flag on Thursday but their test plan was reduced to two hours in the morning and just over an hour in the afternoon due to rain showers. Hunter-Reay took advantage of the shortened day setting very competitive times and managed to complete 133 miles despite the showers in his Swift 014.a.
He commented on his first impression of his Swift on the oval, "the Atlantic car on an oval is everything I expected and more. Coming from cars with less aerodynamic grip, it is such a pleasure to drive the swift on an oval. I guess the biggest difference would be the cornering speed; the car is steady and planted. We were pulling a pretty big number of G's, while cornering at high speeds and I was 100% comfortable."
Hunter-Reay joined Hylton Motorsports from the Barber Dodge Pro Series, a series that competes on one oval each year, Chicago Motor Speedway. In 2001, Hunter-Reay started third at CMS and looks forward to a more aggressive oval schedule in the Toyota Atlantic series, "I am looking forward to the ovals this year, I enjoy racing on them and I know my team has strong history on the ovals. After my experience the last two days I am confident we will be very competitive."
Friday's dry skies allowed the 15 cars present for the test a full day of running, albeit in very chilly conditions. Hunter-Reay wasted no time getting up to speed, by mid-morning he broke last year's track record by more than three tenths of a second, which was set by his team and former driver Hoover Orsi. He went on to log a total of 262 miles on Friday and set the unofficial fastest time of the test, while he and his crew developed a nearly ideal set-up for the race weekend. He commented on his progress and results, "We have a very, very good car right now. We might have a little bit of work to do when we return to adjust to weather and track conditions, but I am very pleased with the outcome of this test. These two days have served me well for learning the line and the driving style of the Atlantic car on the oval and without a doubt we will be competitive right away during the race weekend. I just wish we had no practice and could go straight to qualifying!"
Race engineer Kyle Brannan echoed Hunter-Reay's thoughts on the test; "We arrived in Milwaukee with a very busy test program since it was our first of the year on an oval and obviously our first with the new car. I was a little concerned when the weather went sour on us Thursday, but Ryan had the car figured out immediately and it allowed us to get right to work on our race set-up. Friday was a very good day, Ryan did an outstanding job. As a team I know we are all eager to get back to racing and I think both cars will be in good shape for Milwaukee."
Fellow Atlantic competitor Joey Hand was involved in an incident late Friday at the test. He sustained injuries that will keep him from competing in several of the upcoming events, "It is horrible to hear that Joey was hurt. He is an awesome competitor and I will miss racing against him the next couple of months, but I know he will be back giving us all a run for our money in no time. On behalf of my entire team he is in our thoughts and I hope is on the mend," said Hunter-Reay.
The Hylton Motorsports crew returned to their Irvine, California headquarters to make final preparations for round 3 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Milwaukee Mile on June 3rd. For statistics, results and all the latest news please visit hyltonmotorsports.com, ryanracing.com or toyotaatlantic.com.