9.24.2012 (Via Gordon Kirby) – Ryan Hunter-Reay did himself proud this year. Hunter-Reay won IndyCar's championship with style, building momentum as the season wore on and chasing down Will Power and Team Penske in the year's closing races. Ryan won four races this year–Milwaukee, Iowa, Toronto and Baltimore–and wrapped up the championship with a clean drive through the field to fourth place at the California Speedway while Power hit the fence.
"I think the basis for where our season started was being able to test along with Penske and Ilmor developing not only the DW12 but the Chevrolet engine," Hunter-Reay observed. "I was one of the test drivers for Chevy and I think during the season it really started coming together. Milwaukee is where we got our first win but the speed was there in the season-opener at St. Pete and we finished second in Brazil. The only big thing that was different for me this year than every other year was Indianapolis."
Indeed, the month May at Indianapolis has been a struggle for Hunter-Reay. He finished sixth in his first start at Indianapolis with Rahal Letterman in 2008 but crashed in both 2009 with Vision Racing and '10 with A.J. Foyt. Last year with Andretti Autosport he barely scraped into the field for the 500. But this year Ryan was a front runner throughout practice and qualified on the outside of the front row only to suffer an engine failure early in the race.
"The fact that we were fast this year made the whole thing so enjoyable," Ryan remarked. "I loved every day and I was really having fun with the car, the crew, the team and the whole experience with the media and everything. I had fun with the whole deal and that's the way Indy should be.
"I've certainly gathered a lot of respect for the Speedway over the years from the hard times that I've had there. But to qualify on the front row I think was the beginning to our championship run."
Ryan enjoyed testing and coming to grips with the Dallara DW12 and Chevrolet's new turbo V6.
"From my first day in the car I knew it was going to be quite a long development road and I knew I was going to have to adapt to it. It wasn't going to be a case of tailoring this car exactly to my driving style and to continue doing what I've been doing the past five or six years. I was going to have to adapt to the car and I really enjoyed that. I enjoyed changing my driving style and learning how to get the most out of the new car.
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