RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING AND RYAN HUNTER-REAY READY FOR SOME HOME COOKING AT MID-OHIO HILLIARD, Ohio - And now we're back where we started/Here we go around again - The Kinks Things will look familiar on an IndyCar Series weekend for the...
RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING AND RYAN HUNTER-REAY READY FOR SOME HOME COOKING AT MID-OHIO
HILLIARD, Ohio - And now we're back where we started/Here we go around again - The Kinks
Things will look familiar on an IndyCar Series weekend for the first time in Ryan Hunter-Reay's (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) IRL career as he and his Rahal Letterman Racing squad will head to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for this weekend's Honda Indy 200 Presented by Westfield Insurance.
It was at the 2.258-mile road course in Lexington, Ohio where Hunter-Reay made his first IndyCar appearance last year, joining Rahal Letterman Racing as the team made a mid-season driver change. Despite not having a minute of testing in an IRL car, Hunter-Reay qualified 10th and finished seventh, starting a six-race charge that would end up earning the Floridian the Bombardier Learjet Rookie-of-the-Year Award.
The performance also punched his ticket for the 2008 season in the Ethanol-sponsored car, which now returns him to Mid-Ohio, which is the first track all year where he has previously competed in an IndyCar Series machine.
"I guess this weekend's trip to Mid-Ohio puts an end to any talk of me being a rookie anymore," grinned Hunter-Reay, who also won the Chase Indy 500 Rookie-of-the-Year Award this season. "Frankly it will be good to start getting to tracks where I have experience in the IRL cars, and especially at a place like Mid-Ohio where I have always been comfortable even back to my rookie year in Champ Cars."
Hunter-Reay has been at his best on the road and street courses since joining the IndyCar Series, qualifying in the top 10 in each of his five non-oval starts and earning a spot in the Firestone Fast Six qualifying format in each of the last three road- and street-course events. His success at Mid-Ohio is not limited to his sparkling effort a year ago either as he earned his first podium in the big cars there in 2003 when he started second and finished third with a first-year Champ Car team.
"I can not wait to get to Mid-Ohio as it is one of my favorite tracks anywhere in racing," Hunter-Reay said. "You have to be smooth and flowing with your driving style. It has a great combination of fast corners, elevation changes and tight turns that takes it about as far away from a point-and-shoot street course as a track can be. The fact that Mid-Ohio is Rahal Letterman Racing's home event and with the success that Bobby had there as a driver makes it even more special. It was cool for me last year to see just what a following Bobby still has with the Mid-Ohio fans. He's mobbed like Helio Castroneves there!"