Hunter-Reay Is A Prime Time Player

Ryan Hunter-Reay leads the field during Saturday's IZOD IndyCar Series race at The Milwaukee Mile. (Al Steinberg Photo)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads the field during Saturday’s IZOD IndyCar Series race at The Milwaukee Mile. (Al Steinberg Photo)

NEWTON, Iowa – After watching Ryan Hunter-Reay’s controlled performance in winning the Milwaukee IndyFest for the second year in a row, Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti said the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series champion is “definitely in his prime.”

Andretti doesn’t need to look far for a comparison.

The second-generation racer was 30 when he won the 1991 CART IndyCar World Series championship for Newman/Haas Racing. Runner-up championship finishes sandwiched the title season, and over the three years Andretti recorded 18 of his 42 Indy car victories.

With the Milwaukee victories as bookends, Hunter-Reay has amassed 570 points over 17 races. That includes a series-high six wins and four other top-five finishes. Helio Castroneves is second with 527 points (two victories, two other podiums, two fifth-place finishes) and Scott Dixon is third with 453 points (one victory, two other podiums, five other top-five finishes).

Hunter-Reay accumulated 287 points (four wins, a fourth place) in the final eight races of 2012 – 78 points more than championship runner-up Will Power and 55 more than Dixon, the next highest scorer.

Through nine races this season, Hunter-Reay has moved to 16 points behind the front-running Castroneves (299 points) in the championship standings on the strength of two victories and three other podium finishes. Marco Andretti, the pole sitter at Milwaukee, is third with 249 points.