CHAMPCAR/CART: St. Pete: Ryan Hunter-Reay race report

Hunter-Reay fast, runs in top-ten in first race. At just 22 years of age, Hunter-Reay made his first Champ Car start, and in familiar territory. He grew up just three hours from here and spent a considerable amount of time in St. Petersburg ...

Hunter-Reay fast, runs in top-ten in first race.

At just 22 years of age, Hunter-Reay made his first Champ Car start, and in familiar territory. He grew up just three hours from here and spent a considerable amount of time in St. Petersburg developing his racing career in karting competitions. It was just 11 years ago at the age of 11 that he made his racing debut. Today he took the green flag from the 12th position, a fantastic effort considering he had had only four hours in the car prior to the event.

Hunter-Reay took the green flag and made the Champ Car transition look easy, as he and Alex Tagliani raced back and forth for 11th position in the first few laps. His first pit stop ever, came under yellow conditions on lap 16. Hunter-Reay his marks and the with very little practice, the American Spirit Team Johansson gave perfect service.

In the second stint, Hunter-Reay fought a bit of a loose car, but raced like a veteran, running fast but consistent, smooth laps. He took advantage of the leaders misfortunes and gained a few positions, while masterfully defending his own. He came in for his second stop on lap 45, in addition to the mandatory fuel and tires, the team made some adjustment to the front wing.

His third stint was progressive, but short in length. Hunter-Reay was running as fast as the leaders, he set the second fastest time of the race at that point, just before passing Fernandez and Dominguez for position, and breaking the top-ten. While fighting for grip and running ninth in just his first Champ Car race, Hunter-Reay drove wide at the exit of turn nine, causing him to get off-line and into the marbles. As a result, he hit the tire barrier and his day ended with 43 laps to go. A fantastic effort cut short by the talented young American.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY #31 ASTJ/Ford-Cosworth/Reynard
Started: 12th

"Overall, I am happy with my actually our first weekend. Of course I am disappointed that I didn't finish, but I felt confident in the car, my stops were good and the transition has been smooth. I was running times in the race that were as fast as the leader. Unfortunately, I got a bit wide into the marbles and that was it, that is all it takes. I will chalk it up to experience and definitely learn from it. I feel good, I am really proud of my team, it was a massive team effort this weekend and everyone gave it 100%."

Stefan Johansson, Team Owner: "I am very pleased with Jimmy's finish. He gave it a good fight today. Our aim was to finish and to have collected those points is very important. Ryan did a fantastic job on his first race weekend. He was running very well, his times were strong and gave a good demonstration what is to come. I suspect there might have been something wrong with Jimmy's car, that is something we will look into. We're off to a good start and I am looking forward to the rest of the season."

-astj-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Alex Tagliani , Ryan Hunter-Reay