POSTSEASON PROFILE: HUNTER-REAY HAS STRONG FINISHING KICK
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
The cast: Race engineer – Ray Gosselin. Race strategist – Ray Gosselin. Chief mechanic – Josh Freund.
Twitter: @RyanHunterReay, @FollowAndretti
The car: No. 28 DHL Honda
The driver: Turns 35 on Dec. 17. … Resides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Season finish: Placed sixth in Verizon IndyCar Series standings for the second consecutive season. Was the 2012 series champion. … Completed sixth season with Andretti Autosport.
Season stats: Hunter-Reay came on strong in the last quarter of the season, with two victories and a runner-up finish in the final four races to climb from 14th in the championship to sixth. Overall, he had seven top-10 finishes. … He was running at the finish in 13 (contact at New Orleans, 19th-place finish; mechanical at Toronto, 19th place; contact at Auto Club Speedway, 15th place) of the 16 races. … Led four races for total of 71 laps.
Year over year: 2015 best qualifying of third at Sonoma Raceway (12.3 average), best finish of first at Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway (10.4 average). 2014 best qualifying of first at Long Beach (10.2 average), best finish of first at Barber Motorsports Park, Indianapolis 500 and Iowa Speedway (10.9 average).
The gist: Hunter-Reay has 16 Indy car victories, including the 2014 Indianapolis 500, in 185 races since 2003 (his first win was at Surfers Paradise in 2003). He made his first start in 2003 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., which hosts the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series opener March 11-13. … The most successful active American in open-wheel racing, he won the 2013 and 2014 ESPY Award as Best Driver. … Hunter-Reay will drive for the third time in the Race of Champions in two weeks in London. ... He and teammate Marco Andretti are scheduled to participate in on-track testing Nov. 18 at Phoenix International Raceway.
The chart (below): Looking at how Hunter-Reay finished relative to his qualifying position in the 16 races: