RHR SIGNS FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TEAM ETHANOL LEADS RLR MID-OHIO EFFORTS ALL THREE DAYS QUALIFIES TENTH AND FINISHES SEVENTH IN INDYCAR DEBUT DANA POINT, Calif. (July 25, 2007) -- An extraordinary four days. Day one; Hunter-Reay agrees...
RHR SIGNS FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TEAM ETHANOL LEADS RLR MID-OHIO EFFORTS ALL THREE DAYS
QUALIFIES TENTH AND FINISHES SEVENTH IN INDYCAR DEBUT
DANA POINT, Calif. (July 25, 2007) -- An extraordinary four days. Day one; Hunter-Reay agrees to a contract with Bobby Rahal to take over the driving duties of the Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol entry in the Indy Racing League, starting the following day at Mid-Ohio for the race weekend. Day two; In a very early morning application of team work the Team Ethanol crew completes Ryan's final fitting in the 1500 pound, 670 horsepower, Dallara IndyCar before sending him on track in the weekends first official practice session. Day three; Qualifies the Rahal Letterman Team Ethanol No.#17 car tenth. Day four; Starts his first IRL race in tenth, picks up one position by the first corner and another three avoiding the contact between Andretti, Patrick and Kanaan. Ran a flawless race in sixth until his first pit stop emerging in tenth then worked his way back to ninth before his next stop. By this point the teams' confidence in Ryan was such that they elected to double stint his Firestone Firehawks and called him in for a 'fuel only' pit stop gaining one position to eight and then Hunter-Reay ran down Thomas Scheckter to take the seventh spot.
RHR recorded the best road course qualifying and race result for the Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol entry since they switched to the Dallara chassis in 2006.
Adding to the accomplishment is the fact that Hunter-Reay had never tested or so much as turned a wheel in an IndyCar, whereas all of the other drivers had completed an extensive two day test at that track with their teams only a few weeks before. Despite it being his first time in the car, at one of the most technical road courses in America, over three days Ryan never made an error or so much as dropped a wheel with the exception of two off's when the throttle linkage got hung up on some last minute modifications to accommodate his size 11 feet, 6' 1" frame and 175 pound weight, making him the tallest and heaviest driver in the Indy Racing League Series.
Rahal Letterman Chief Operating Officer stated; '--Everybody realized that neither of the incidents we had this weekend were Ryan's fault--' , '--We are very pleased with the way things went--' and '--We found a lot to build on--' (complete Rahal Letterman Racing Team quotes below).
Ryan had the following to say about his whirlwind introduction to a new car, team, and series. Day one; "I am very happy to be joining a quality organization such as Rahal Letterman Racing. This is a strong opportunity for me and I am eager to help the team move forward and get some results through the remainder of the season'. Day two; 'It was a good first day for the Team Ethanol car. Having never driven an IndyCar until today and being just a couple of tenths out of the top ten is pretty decent'. Day three; 'We're doing a great job for our first weekend together. The Ethanol car is very strong, the team has worked extremely hard and things are progressing well for us'.
Day four; '"We ran a great race today. The first time out in these cars with no testing and to finish in the top seven feels like a win for the team," said Hunter-Reay. "If you consider the fact that we were still shaping the seat Friday morning right before first practice, this is a huge result, not to mention every other driver and team had a complete two day test here prior to this race weekend to get prepared for this place. We had a couple of fluky things happen in practice with two separate stuck throttle situations, but the whole Ethanol Team showed amazing tenacity, we really kept after it. In the race we didn't do any tricky strategy, we simply had good pace and ran well. It was a satisfying day for us. This was the highest road course finish for the team since they switched to the Dallara chassis in 2006 and we now have a solid platform to build on for Sonoma in a few weeks"
"We're now preparing to switch gears and head to Michigan where we'll be running at 220mph for several hours straight. The team has been making progress on the ovals, so I really look forward to getting behind the wheel of the Ethanol car again next weekend".