Two podiums and a pole position are listed on Ryan Hunter-Reay’s resume under the heading of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but what he is really looking for is a victory. He has been coming to Mid-Ohio to watch races since he was a child, and got his first taste of on-track action in Lexington, Ohio when he participated in Formula Dodge and Skip Barber. His favorite thing about Mid-Ohio is, “… the constant flow to it. It never stops turning. Even the turns have kinks in them.”
It’s been a long time since the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda has rolled into victory lane… 2015 at Pocono Raceway, to be exact. Hunter-Reay went into that season feeling a step behind with the new aerokits and yet ended up with two wins (the other being at Iowa Speedway). He admitted that that season really taught him a lot about patience and remaining calm in stressful situations. During the press conference after the afternoon practice session, Hunter-Reay was asked what it would mean to get a win this weekend, not only for himself but for Andretti Autosport. His reply was simple,
“(A win at Mid-Ohio) would mean a lot. It would be a momentum season changer.
Last year was the first season of my career where I didn’t have a win. We want to get back in it.”
He continued on, explaining that he feels like one of the luckiest people, because every weekend he gets to do the best job in the entire world. This understanding and mindset is why he doesn’t get ‘down in the dumps’ about not winning or not having luck on his side lately. He understands how elite this level of motorsports is, and he appreciates that he’s still here, and still competitive.
The constant changes at Mid-Ohio mentioned earlier means that all the drivers and teams need to fight for better just as continually. It certainly appears that Hunter-Reay is up to that challenge. After all, in his words, “This is the tightest IndyCar has ever been,” and days like today prove beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Hunter-Reay continues to possess the ability to race alongside living legends like Scott Dixon. They are a part of something special.
We are witnessing history happen before our eyes.
We are witnessing what could be this series’ highest-skilled field in history.
Ryan Hunter-Reay intends to be a part of it for as long as possible, and this Sunday we will find out if he has what it takes to not only compete, but to emerge victorious at Mid-Ohio.
Photo credit: Chris Jones / IndyCar