HILLIARD, Ohio - The record books show the first official Indy Car race taking place in 1909, with more than 280 different drivers claiming victory in a major open-wheel race since then whether it be IndyCar or Champ Car/CART. In his 2004 ...
HILLIARD, Ohio - The record books show the first official Indy Car race taking place in 1909, with more than 280 different drivers claiming victory in a major open-wheel race since then whether it be IndyCar or Champ Car/CART.
In his 2004 visit to the Milwaukee Mile, site of this weekend's ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 IndyCar Series event, Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) performed a feat that none of those 280 racewinners had ever accomplished. His run from the pole on that June evening set a new open-wheel standard as he led all 250 laps to win Milwaukee, setting a record for the most laps led in a single event.
Many things have happened to the Floridian since that night, but few were as important to the Rahal Letterman Racing driver as his most recent performance. Hunter-Reay started 20th in last week's Indianapolis 500 but sluiced through the field both on the track and in the pits to finish sixth - a result that helped earn him the Chase Indy 500 Rookie-of-the-Year award.
"This was a big result for me and for the team," Hunter-Reay said. "We're very close to breaking out and threatening the power teams of the series, and last week's run can only help us build momentum. We have had great race cars all year, and the team deserved a good race. I said if we could just avoid bad luck, we'd do well, and that's what happened."
The Indy performance vaulted Hunter-Reay into 11th place in the IndyCar Series point standings and moved him to within 25 points of fifth as the schedule churns into June. Hunter-Reay will be making his fourth Indy Car start at Milwaukee but his first with RLR as well as his first in a normally-aspirated Indy Car. The Ohio-based Rahal Letterman Racing squad has plenty of experience at the Mile however, with wins from Bobby Rahal and Michel Jourdain Jr. and comes off hanging a pair of top-ten finishes in last year's event at the 1.032-mile oval.
"I really like Milwaukee because it drives more like a road course than most ovals," told Hunter-Reay. "I will never forget my win here. It was one of those nights where I had a perfect car and you don't get that feeling very often. Every change we made on the car was right, but we didn't have to make many. Our guys here made a lot of great calls for Indianapolis, and we expect to build on that this weekend."
Hunter-Reay will get an early jump on the weekend as he throws out the first pitch prior to the Milwaukee Brewers/Houston Astros baseball game Friday night. He will start his day even earlier with an Ethanol Pump Tour beginning at 11:30 a.m. Hunter-Reay will pump Ethanol-enriched fuel at the Pioneer Plaza BP/McDonald's station at 3230 Pioneer Road in Richfield, Wisconsin.
The ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 begins at 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday and can be seen live on ABC. Fans can follow every on-track session via the official website of the series - www.indycar.com