Defending Iowa winner Hunter-Reay reflects on 2015 struggles

Ryan Hunter-Reay is running out of time to end this season on a high note.

Defending Iowa winner Hunter-Reay reflects on 2015 struggles

By all accounts, Ryan Hunter-Reay’s 2015 campaign in the Verizon IndyCar Series has been less than stellar. The 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner is 14th in the championship points, behind both full-time teammates Marco Andretti in seventh and Carlos Munoz in 12th.

Searching for results

His best result came Barber Motorsports Park when he placed fifth. Other than a seventh at St. Petersburg and an eighth in Detroit's second race, Hunter-Reay has failed to crack the top ten. But while Hunter-Reay has struggled, Andretti Autosport teammate Munoz earned his first IndyCar victory at Detroit while Andretti holds the impressive honor of being the only driver to have completed every lap this season.

We seem to be a few steps behind and every time we show up at a race weekend ... What’s worked for us in the past is not working now, so we kind of start from scratch

Ryan Hunter-Reay

What has been missing from Hunter-Reay’s performance this year?

“I just haven’t had the car to lean on. I need the car to do certain things in order for me to get the extra three tenths out of it that has been so successful over the past three seasons which has put us in victory lane numerous times every year,” Hunter-Reay said.

Rain and short weekends not helping

Hunter-Reay added that the shorter weekends and the constant rain hasn't helped: “IndyCar weekends tend to be very short, the longer road and street course weekends we’ve had have had rain and been rained out on certain sessions, for one reason or another it’s been very short weekends every time and we just haven’t been able to close that gap or at least you know, chip into it.

“We seem to be a few steps behind and every time we show up at a race weekend we have to turn the setup upside down from years past. What’s worked for us in the past is not working now, so we kind of start from scratch,” Hunter-Reay explained.

Past glory at Iowa

His last IndyCar win came in this very race last year after a late pit stop gave him an advantage with fresh tires, passing Tony Kanaan with only a handful of laps remaining. However, with new aero kits changing handling characteristics of the cars, Hunter-Reay is uncertain about his chances to win this time around.

“I haven’t been on track here with the new car [and] the new aero kit so I’m not really sure what kind of car we have. At Milwaukee in years past we’ve been pretty dominant and had a harder time at it this year for sure, we didn’t have the grip to lean on, just kind of sliding on top of the track so hopefully we don’t have that here, but we’ll see how it goes today. Testing’s going to be crucial today and where it all heads. It’s definitely been tougher to come upon that grip that we need and what I’ve been used to over the past few years,” Hunter-Reay admitted.

This weekend will be another short one. Hunter-Reay has two 45 minute practice sessions Friday before qualifying tomorrow afternoon and the race starting at 7:50pm local time. 

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