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IndyCar's Hunter-Reay extends contract on eve of title race

September 15, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay soaks up the sun during practice at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on Friday.
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.


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