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Hunter-Reay “determined” to make late run for IndyCar title

Jul 30, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT

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A bad three-race stretch has done damage to Ryan Hunter-Reay’s chances for a second consecutive IZOD IndyCar Series championship, but the American pilot is out to stage a rally for the title in the season’s home stretch.

This weekend, IndyCar heads for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Sun., 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN), a track where RHR has had past success that includes podium runs in 2003 (Champ Car/American Spirit Team Johanssen) and 2011 (IndyCar/Andretti Autosport). He considers the difficult, technical circuit as one of his favorites.

“Mid-Ohio is the heart of American open-wheel road racing and I have some great memories over the years at this track,” Hunter-Reay said in a team statement. “I’ve been on the podium a few times here, and following tough weekends we had at Pocono and Toronto, we’ll be working hard to rebound and cut into the championship points lead.”

It certainly won’t be easy after trouble found him earlier this month at Pocono Raceway and in both races of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader.

At the “Tricky Triangle,” Hunter-Reay was hit from behind on pit road by an out-of-control Takuma Sato. One week later in Canada, he was victimized by multiple stalls on pit road in Race 1 and a late-race crash with Will Power in Race 2.

Finishes of 20th at Pocono and 18th/19th at Toronto now have him 69 points behind leader Helio Castroneves. He’s also fallen behind Scott Dixon, who won all three of those races – and has been the master of Mid-Ohio with four victories in the series’ six events there.

But it’s not quite time to put Hunter-Reay in the “long shot” category just yet. We’ve seen big comebacks before in IndyCar. Remember 2010, when Dario Franchitti erased a 59-point gap to Will Power in the final four races to win the title that year?

Considering that, making up 69 points in six remaining events wouldn’t appear impossible for Hunter-Reay.

“We’re a tenacious bunch at Andretti Autosport and we’re determined to make a late season run at the championship,” he said.

  1. snoopyo - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    This championship in this series always goes down to the wire and sometimes down to the last race so RHR is not out of it.If Helio has a DNF or two then things will get interesting real quick. It seems like an annual INDYCAR tradition is watching Penske choke away a championship I have seen it so many times with them whether its pit incidents or accidents. I know one thing Scott Dixon is the one guy you don’t want breathing down your throat when your trying to win a title and now there going to a track that he has owned. RHR was down last year and came back to win it Dixon has came out of no where and is right in the thick of it, heck Marco is 70 points behind and if he won a couple races he could be right there. Its Helio’s to lose but Dixon is going to be tough to hold off and RHR is capable of being there also.

  2. mcc325 - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    If Helio keeps being as consistent as he’s been, he’s going to be tough to beat. Although if Dixon stays hot, it’s gonna put a lot of pressure on Helio to win not just run up front… Personally, I’d love to see RHR or Marco win this weekend and make this a close 3 horse race down the stretch

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