IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay soaks up the sun during practice at Auto… (F. Peirce Williams / LAT…)
Only hours before Ryan Hunter-Reay hoped to win his first Izod IndyCar Series championship, his team Andretti Autosport confirmed Saturday that it signed Hunter-Reay to a two-year contract extension.
"He is a tough competitor and has become an important part of our team," which also includes drivers Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti said in a statement.
Once a journeyman driver seeking a full-time ride, Hunter-Reay, 31, has had a breakout season with Andretti Autosport this year, capturing a series-high four victories.
He's also 17 points behind Australian Will Power entering Saturday night's season-ending race, the MAVTV 500, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana that will decide the next IndyCar champion.
"I'm looking forward to my return with Andretti Autosport," Hunter-Reay said in a statement, "but today we are focused on leaving Fontana tonight with a championship."
Hunter-Reay will start 22nd in the 26-car field in the race, which starts at 5:45 p.m. PDT on the two-mile Auto Club Speedway oval and will finish under the lights.
Bryce Harper continues march toward teenage HR mark
Matt Barnes goes from Blake Griffin's enemy to teammate
Bob and Mike Bryan keep U.S. alive in Davis Cup semifinal