The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season has been an up-and-down year for Ryan Hunter-Reay. It started off with him qualifying fifth for the season opener in St. Pete but his engine let go 19 laps into the race. After that though was a stretch of seven top eight finishes in eight tries. Then came a three race stretch of finishes of 11th, 16th and 17th respectively.
In Mid-Ohio, he came home third. Last week in Pocono he was crashed again for a second straight year. Now, can he get going again?
Gateway isn’t the spot it can happen though. Unfortunately, the 1.25-mile St. Louis area race track hasn’t been too kind to him in the past. In two career starts, Hunter-Reay has finishes of 15th and 20th respectively. Both were DNF’s.
While he’s finished every race with the exception of St. Pete and Pocono this year, Gateway may be a spot his No. 28 Honda struggles. Luckily, the final two races of the season are ones were Hunter-Reay excelled at last year.
Despite that, Hunter-Reay feels like he can have a car that contends as he notes he should have had a better finish last year if not for a mechanical failure on his No. 28 Honda.
“Last season we were running in the top three when we had a fuel pump failure sideline us,” said Hunter-Reay. “Hopefully we can pick up where we left off and challenge for win number 19 this weekend.”
Also, Hunter-Reay becomes just the 15th Indy Car driver to make 250 or more starts. He’s currently sitting at 249, so when the green flag drops on Saturday night’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500, Hunter-Reay will have joined 14 other drivers to make at least 250 starts in the series.
“This Saturday night at (World Wide Technology Raceway) will mark my 250th career Indy car start which is pretty incredible,” said the 2012 series champion. “I feel extremely fortunate to have had such incredible support over the past 16 years enabling me to compete at the highest level. I’ve had the honor of representing many great partners along the way, however I am especially grateful to DHL for their unwavering support over the past nine seasons with Andretti Autosport on the No. 28 car. To me, 250 is just another number. Like any other race I compete it in, my only goal is to win.”