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Q&A with Ryan Hunter-Reay

9.18.2012 (Via RACER) - So, how does it feel to be the champ?

RYAN HUNTER‑REAY: This is unbelievable. I can't put it into words the feeling. How hard I had to fight. How we had to fight at Baltimore. Just this whole thing has not set in yet. I'm still in almost fight mode. We just came back. We really earned this one.

For all the bad luck we had this year, to get it, it feels so good. It feels like we really earned this. We really worked for it. To get it done for Andretti Autosport, DHL, Sun Drop, Circle K, these folks have been behind me. This is a dream come true. This is what I've wanted since I was 6 years old. So it hasn't all set in yet, but, my gosh…amazing.

Why can't you make things easy on yourself? Why does everything have to be drama?

RYAN HUNTER‑REAY: I don't know! I heard Will [Power] was close to hitting me, too. Really close, huh? Yeah. Unbelievable.

What a race though. I don't know how it seemed to you guys, but, geez, I was on the edge the entire time just trying to hold on to the car. You're right – nothing can be easy. It was stressful down to the last bit. Then the red flag comes out and I have to sit there and think about it some more while we had a good rhythm going. It was just…man. I'm still just taking it all in.

This is just amazing, you know. This is what racing is about, what sports are about. I'm going to let this one sit in for a second and really enjoy it.

I know that you were quick to wrap the American flag around you. You're the first driver from the United States to win an IndyCar Series title since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006. How important is that for the series?

RYAN HUNTER‑REAY: It's important. It's important to me. I'm very proud of my country. I always have been. I've always looked up to the American drivers when I first started this whole deal as a fan of the IndyCar Series, a genuine fan before I raced go‑karts I followed the American greats. That really appealed to me.

Now here I am on the other side, and I see these kids that are looking up to us drivers. Man, it's so cool being on the other side of it all. I mean, to do this against the Ganassis, and the Penskes, and the talent in the series as even Dario [Franchitti] and Will and all these guys have said. I feel like I'm up against the best in the world. It's just amazing to get it done. I'm running out of words to describe it.

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