Hunter-Reay Rejoins Riley-Matthews Motorsports For the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 21, 2007)-- After helping the team record their best finish of the season two weeks ago at the 'Six Hours of the Glen' Ryan...
Hunter-Reay Rejoins Riley-Matthews Motorsports For the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 21, 2007)-- After helping the team record their best finish of the season two weeks ago at the 'Six Hours of the Glen' Ryan Hunter-Reay will share driving duties with team co-owner Jim Matthews in the #91 Riley-Matthews Pontiac Daytona Prototype for the GrandAm Rolex Series EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Saturday, June 23.
"Once again we had a very strong showing at Watkins Glen but not the result the team deserved in the end," commented Hunter-Reay. "We were caught out by some unfortunate circumstances during the race that we had no control over. The GAINSCO Team certainly deserved the win last weekend however without quite a bit of bad luck I think we could have finished a strong second. At times the race was agonizing, over the span of six hours we went from the back to the front three separate times before finishing sixth. It was up and down all day, which was frustrating because I knew our potential. The guys on this team are very talented. They work hard and deserve podium finishes".
Hunter-Reay continues, "I look forward to working closer with the team this weekend as it will only be Jim Matthews and myself in the car. There will be a lot of weight on my shoulders and I prefer that role. I'm totally focused on doing a great job for the team and helping them finish up front where we belong."
Mid-Ohio is a track where Hunter-Reay has excelled over his racing career. His first race, and first win, at the 2.2-mile permanent road course came at age 16 in the Skip Barber 2 Liter Regional Series. The last time Hunter-Reay competed at Mid-Ohio was in 2003, his rookie season in Champ Car with the newly formed American Spirit Team. He drove a three-year-old inferior Reynard chassis competiting against the dominating Lola's. An additional challenge was the fact that 'RHR' was the only driver not to have tested the Champ Car at Mid-Ohio, as the team could not afford to test both cars. Undeterred, Hunter-Reay qualified on the front row, finished on the podium and earned his first record setting result; the first American Rookie to podium in the series since Bobby Rahal 20 years prior.
"Mid-Ohio is one of my favorite race tracks," said Hunter-Reay. "This is huge for me to return to a place that means so much to me. My last time here I had a breakthrough weekend in my rookie Champ Car season, before that it was summer weekends in Skip Barber. I have great memories of this place. My Dad and I started coming here to watch races when I was 10, maybe 11 years-old. Mid-Ohio has such a great feel to it; it's a driver's track that requires great rhythm and flow behind the wheel. It will also put your intestinal fortitude to the test with its drops and fast corners. I will finally get behind the wheel of the Daytona Prototype at a track that I have previous experience on so we should hit the ground running this weekend."
Hunter-Reay showed how much he loves this track in the first session of the weekend, Thursday's promoter test day, when he immediately went to the top of the time charts and held that position until he got out of the car. He took the car to P3 in Fridays first practice session and is confident a bit of tweaking will keep them up front.
Although this weekend will mark only his fourth start in the Rolex Series, Hunter-Reay finds himself well adjusted to the car and adapting his driving to get to the front of the grid. The race will start Saturday, June 23rd, at 5:45PM E.S.T. and will be broadcast tape delayed at 8:00PM on SPEED.