Ryan Hunter-Reay certainly has been busy since the checkered flag waved at Auto Club Speedway in August, signifying the close of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season. While many believe that the off season is downtime until the next season’s kickoff, drivers like Hunter-Reay prove that when you have a need for speed… you don’t slow down simply because the series track schedule is quiet.
In November 2014, Ryan, his wife Beccy and their adorable son, Ryden were on hand at the Cleveland Clinic Florida campus to present a donation to the world-renowned hospital brand in the amount of 2.5 million dollars. The donation was a joint effort from AutoNation and the foundation that Ryan founded, Racing for Cancer. In recognition of the Hunter-Reay’s dedication to cancer research, the Clinic announced they would name the new Maroone Cancer Center’s lobby in memory of Ryan’s mother, Lydia Hunter-Reay, who lost her battle with colon cancer in 2009. The center opened on February 19th, 2015 and of course the Hunter-Reay family was present for the ribbon cutting.
Ryan started the month of December with a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where his likeness was revealed on the Borg Warner trophy. The timing of the reveal was perfect, as the season had already wound down and Ryan could really take a moment to appreciate his accomplishment. He expressed how, “You don’t get to really think about it much afterward. So seeing my face on the Borg-Warner Trophy, which transcends motorsports, makes it all sink in.” Ryan also received his Baby Borg a month later in Detroit.
December’s adventure was not complete in Indiana however – the family headed down to Barbados, as Ryan had been chosen as one of the 3 American drivers to participate in the Race of Champions. RHR won his first three rounds of heats and advanced to the quarter finals, along with fellow Team USA drivers, Kurt Busch & Robby Gordon.
The holidays passed by and before we knew it, we were well into January and listening for those cars to rev in Daytona as they do at the start of every new year. RHR raced with Starworks Motorsports for the 2nd time in his Rolex 24 career; 2015 marked his 9th career start at the iconic endurance race. He co-piloted the the No. 7 BMW Riley Daytona Prototype, sponsored by Martini, with Rubens Barichello, Tor Graves, Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer. The team qualified 8th overall and finished 10th in their class.
So what’s next on the agenda? It’s coming up tomorrow and it involves another trip back home to Indiana for Ryan & his family. The 2015 Indianapolis 500 Ticket will be revealed on Thursday evening, March 5th. The event is sure to be another memorable one for Ryan, but I have one lingering question that can only be answered by seeing the new ticket: Will Ryden be a part of the image? The toddler certainly made his way into all of our hearts over the course of last season – particularly when he was dressed to impress at the 500, in his baby-sized firesuit. Ryden and his father have quite the bond, so I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see both of them on the ticket for the 99th Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Would you?
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