9.25.2012 (Via Tony DiZinno, RACER) - Starting today, RACER.com will break down each team's season in the IZOD IndyCar Series. First up are the champions from Andretti Autosport, with each driver, points total and finish, wins/poles or best start/finish, average start, points per race and laps led, if applicable.
ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT (CHEVROLET)
Ryan Hunter-Reay / (468, Champion)
James Hinchcliffe / (358, 8th)
Marco Andretti / (278, 16th)
Sebastian Saavedra / (41, 27th)
Ana Beatriz / (28, 29th)
Wins: Four (Hunter-Reay) / Poles: One (Andretti, Fontana)
Avg. Start: Hunter-Reay 8.4, Hinchcliffe 9.1, Andretti 11.5
Points Per Race: Hunter-Reay 31.2, Hinchcliffe 23.9, Andretti 18.5
Laps Led: Hunter-Reay 153, Andretti 65, Hinchcliffe 39
The chemistry of Andretti Autosport was much discussed and vastly improved in 2012, and in no small coincidence, so were the team's results. Ryan Hunter-Reay emerged as the true team leader, rescued from the career wilderness to score the championship, while James Hinchcliffe served notice of his potential throughout the year and Marco Andretti had his moments.
Hunter-Reay's buildup to 2012 started with a torrid second half of 2011, to where I thought he could legitimately be called a dark horse title contender. Robin Miller expanded on the possibility in the April issue of RACER, but it was interesting that RHR – not one of the sons of legends, Andretti or Rahal – would emerge as America's next open-wheel champion.
Hunter-Reay is the true all-'rounder in the series, and it was only at Texas (where he started 13th, retired because of a fuel injector issue) where he failed to truly figure in the equation. He was strong at Indy for the first time since his rookie attempt there in 2008. He then, of course, reeled off his string of three straight wins from Milwaukee through Toronto before pole turned to 11th on the grid, then seventh in Edmonton. His back was against the wall after Mid-Ohio and Sonoma, but he and the team responded admirably the last two races. He is a worthy champion.
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