CHAMPCAR/CART: St. Pete: Ryan Hunter-Reay preview


RYAN HUNTER-REAY, #31 ASTJ/Ford-Cosworth/Reynard

Champ Car Debut: America's only Rookie in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, Hunter-Reay will make his Champ Car debut this weekend.

Hometown Hero: Florida will be represented by several drivers this weekend, but Hunter-Reay is the only native of the Sunshine State. He grew up in Boca Raton and is a 2000 graduate of Ft. Lauderdale's Cardinal Gibbons High School in Ft. Lauderdale. Hunter-Reay began his career kartingin the St. Petersburg area at the age of 11 en route to nine National World Karting Association Championships.

Spreading the Spirit: American Spirit Team Johansson will distribute 2000 American flags to the fans sitting at the start finish line Sunday. As the pace car rolls, spread the spirit.

CART's Ultimate Graduate: In a span of just three years, Hunter-Reay has graduated through the each of ranks of CART's Ladder System, making him the youngest driver in the Champ Car World Series. It all started when he was the inaugural winner of the Barber Dodge Big Scholarship at the age of 16. After dominating the Skip Barber 2L National Championship, Hunter-Reay won a full scholarship for the 2000 CART Barber Dodge Championship. He completed two season's in the CART Barber Dodge Pro Series. Last year, the 22-year old American made a very big impression on the CART Toyota Atlantic Series as he scored three victories and trampled the field in laps led and pole positions. Hunter-Reay's racing career has catapulted from Karts to CART in just 11 years.

Hunter-Reay on his Champ Car debut: "I've been looking forward to this event since I started racing 11 years ago. I grew up just three hours from St. Petersburg, so not only is this my first Champ Car race, but along with Miami, I consider it my home race; it will be incredible. The fact that I grew up racing Karts and developed my racing career here makes it even more special. I was obviously hoping to have much more time in the car prior to this event. My first test was earlier this month at Spring Training. We ran well, I spent several hours testing the car, getting acquainted with it and practicing pit stops, but that was basically it, so I will have to adapt quickly. The Skip Barber system and the Toyota Atlantic Series have trained me well for Champ Cars; the top step in American Open Wheel Racing, so that gives me a lot of confidence. I couldn't ask for a better, stronger group of guys and girl (Mechanic, Tess Brelia) preparing my car. My speed and development as a driver in the Champ Car World Series will come with time spent in the car, so I have to take full advantage of every lap at St. Petersburg. I am really excited and proud to carry the American flag this season alongside my experienced teammate, Jimmy Vasser."


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Skip Barber