Watkins Glen: Rahal Letterman Racing preview

RYAN HUNTER-REAY AND RLR UPBEAT ABOUT INDYCAR RETURN TO ROAD RACING THIS WEEKEND HILLIARD, Ohio - Rahal Letterman Racing and Ryan Hunter-Reay ( ...

RYAN HUNTER-REAY AND RLR UPBEAT ABOUT INDYCAR RETURN TO ROAD RACING THIS WEEKEND

HILLIARD, Ohio - Rahal Letterman Racing and Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) will get a chance to show their road-course acumen this weekend as the IndyCar Series runs its first true road-course event of the year with Sunday's Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.

This weekend's visit to the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen road course is the first for Hunter-Reay and Rahal Letterman Racing since last year's event at Detroit's Belle Isle. It was there that Hunter-Reay had his best qualifying effort of the 2007 season, getting into the Firestone Fast Six session and taking the fifth spot for the race.

But while the team and Hunter-Reay have shone during road- and street-course qualifying in their four tries together - never starting outside of the top 10 - problems have found them during races, leaving them to finish 17th or below in each of the last three such events.

"We have had really good cars at every road course that I have been on with Rahal Letterman Racing, so we're looking forward to this weekend at Watkins Glen," said Hunter-Reay. "We will find a way to get this Ethanol car to the front and keep it there and I think this would be a great race to start."

Handling issues ended a promising run at Infineon last year after five laps while a broken driveshaft ended a top-five effort in Detroit for the #17 team. Hunter-Reay led late at St. Petersburg earlier this year and had a top-five all but sealed when the car ran out of fuel with less than five laps to go.

This weekend's event will be the first IndyCar race at Watkins Glen for Hunter-Reay although he competed on the storied circuit last year in a six-hour Grand-Am race. The Rahal Letterman Racing team has taken part in each of the three previous IndyCar Series outings at the former home of the F1 United States Grand Prix with a high-water finish of fourth coming courtesy of Buddy Rice in 2006.

"I'm excited about getting a shot at Watkins Glen in a 650-horsepower Indy Car," Hunter-Reay reported. "This track is a good test in a sports car, I am sure it provides plenty of challenges for us in the Indy Cars."

Rahal Letterman Racing is looking to bounce back from a tough weekend at Richmond. The team turned the fastest lap of the day in practice but had an electrical problem that kept the #17 car from qualifying. Starting 25th in the field, Hunter-Reay worked his way into the top 10 before being caught up in an accident with Mario Moraes that left him to finish 16th.

The 60-lap SunTrust Indy Challenge gets underway at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday and can be seen live on ABC. Qualifying and the Firestone Fast Six takes place on Saturday afternoon from 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Fans can follow every on-track session via the official website of the series - www.indycar.com

-credit: rlr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay , Buddy Rice , Mario Moraes