IRL: Kentucky: Ryan Hunter-Reay race report

ELECTRICAL GREMLINS FOIL TOP-TEN RESULT IN KENTUCKY SPARTA, Ky. (August 11, 2007) - Soon after Indy Racing League Rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay ( ...


SPARTA, Ky. (August 11, 2007) - Soon after Indy Racing League Rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) settled into his first stint, things went south as an electrical problem killed Hunter-Reay's radio communications. Unable to hear his spotter while posting 215+ MPH lap averages made things interesting and foiled his chance of scoring his third straight top-ten.

"Driving without a radio and spotter at 220 MPH, side by side for laps at a time is a pretty crazy feeling," said Hunter-Reay. "It's not something I would like to try again. The mirrors on these cars, especially at 220 MPH are pretty much useless. We run just inches apart from each other out there and the slightest error can send a car flying."

However, the more crucial problem was the inability to hear instructions regarding pit stops. Eventually the team was forced to swap out first the steering wheel, then the radio harness, then the battery over three separate pit stops putting the Team Ethanol car down 15 laps. The rookie soldiered on, getting his laps in on a track he saw for the first time yesterday. The last time Hunter-Reay raced on a 1.5-mile oval was over three years ago.

The team was gifted one spot to 15th towards the end of the race due to Patrick's crash before the electrical gremlins returned to force the Team Ethanol car to pit two laps from the end of the race. The result moved Ryan to within a dozen points of taking over the Bombardier Learjet Rookie-of-the-Year points lead with three races to go.

"My second oval with the Ethanol car and the second race where we had problems that were out of our control," Hunter-Reay relayed. "We had a top-10 car and it's a shame that we had trouble because we were definitely faster than the cars that finished at the back of the top ten. We had an electrical problem that killed the radio, which led to more pit stops than we should have had. The guys did a good job, it was a top-10 day for us and unfortunately we don't have the result to show for it."

Hunter-Reay continues, "We qualified well, P8. We lost a couple spots in traffic as I was dealing with front grip issues in traffic, but we were still in the top-ten after the first round of stops and that's when we began having some electrical issues. It's a shame. We were dialing the car in as the race progressed."

"The positive is that we learned quite a few things with the car this weekend that we will be able to apply in the season finale at Chicagoland," said Hunter-Reay. "We know where we stood today and that was well within the top ten. Sometimes, things just don't go your way. For us, it hasn't gone our way two weeks straight, it happens. I'll take the positives and move on to Sonoma."

Up next: Motorola Indy 300 at Infineon Speedway in Sonoma, Calif. on August 26

Distance: 80 laps/184 miles

Tune In: 3:30 p.m. live on ESPN,, IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 144


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay