ELKHART LAKE, Wis – Ryan Hunter-Reay vowed to be a championship contender this year. Prior to the Indianapolis 500, Hunter-Reay kept saying that if he could get any kind of good luck in 2018, then he’d be a legitimate favorite to challenge for his second career Verizon IndyCar Series championship. He was right too.
In both St. Pete and Phoenix, he said he had a podium car. Instead, he had to settle for two fifth place runs out of the gates. In Long Beach, he was penalized in qualifying for a blend violation and had to start seventh because of that. He had a top five car that weekend too. That put him behind at the start of the race and saw issues ensued because of that. He’d finish 20th.
In the INDYCAR Grand Prix, he’d suffer an electrical issue and finish 18th.
Other than that though, Hunter-Reay has been a contender everywhere else. He finished second at Barber back in April. He was fifth in the Indianapolis 500. In fact, since his top five finish in the May 27 race, he hasn’t finished worse than that ever since. That has vaulted him up to second in the standings heading to Iowa in two weeks.
Hunter-Reay came home second in the first of two races in Belle Isle at the beginning of this month. In the second race that weekend, he’d win for the first time in nearly three years. At Texas, he came home fifth. Then, in Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix at Road America, Hunter-Reay once again nabbed a top five, with a runner-up finish. It was his eighth top five result in 10 races this season.
Hunter-Reay immediately jumped to second on the start of the race and stayed in Josef Newgarden’s tire tracks the entire 55 Lap event. Unfortunately, he just didn’t have enough to get by as he had to settle for his third runner-up result in 2018.