3.6.2013 – The readers of RACER magazine and Racer.com have chosen IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay as their overall RACER of the Year and Road Racer of the Year for 2012.
Now in its 18th year, the RACER of the Year Awards presented by Hawk Performance is open to racers from a wide cross-section of motorsports series and determined entirely by reader voting. It’s that breadth of competition and fan-powered format that gives RACER of the Year its prestige and makes it an accolade that racers want to win.
Past winners of the overall RACER of the Year include Tony Stewart, Michael Schumacher, John Force, Lewis Hamilton and Jimmie Johnson. In joining them, Hunter-Reay becomes the first overall winner from North American open-wheel racing since Paul Tracy in 2003, the first IZOD IndyCar Series Champion and first American born open-wheel champion to win the prestigious award.
Over the course of the 2012 season, Hunter-Reay took four victories in his DHL/Sun Drop sponsored Andretti Autosport Dallara-Chevrolet, more than any other driver, taking two oval wins, at Milwaukee and Iowa, and two street-course wins at Toronto and Baltimore. He clinched the title in a tense season finale at Fontana, eventually beating Will Power (Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet) by just three points.
Once again, RACER magazine and Racer.com readers voted in record numbers, powering Hunter-Reay to a comfortable victory in both categories. The Andretti Autosport driver beat NHRA Pro Stock star Erica Enders, Top Fuel champ Antron Brown and Formula 1 aces Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel to the overall RACER of the Year title.
In Road Racer of the Year voting, he finished ahead of two previous winners of the category, IndyCar’s Will Power and three-time and reigning F1 champ Vettel.
Ryan said: “I’m honored to have been chosen as the 2012 overall RACER of the Year as well as the Road Racer of the Year. A sincere thank you to all of those fans who took the time to vote. For consideration of this honor, my name was placed among distinguished drivers I feel privileged to be associated with, let alone to be the driver chosen. As the first Indy car driver selected since 2003, I’m proud to be able to represent IndyCar, Andretti Autosport and our partners DHL, Sun Drop and Chevrolet.
“While 2012 was a hard-fought season, it was also a dream season in so many ways and it certainly would not have been possible without the unwavering support I’ve received from our team, sponsors, my family and of course the fans. Thank you for pushing me to limits I deemed unattainable, that's what being a RACER is all about.”
RACER editor David Malsher commented: “Ryan’s clinching of a hard earned IZOD IndyCar Series title was just the warm-up act for his biggest achievement of all – winning RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance. Seriously, it’s fantastic to see that readers of RACER magazine and Racer.com appreciate just what Ryan achieved last year, with victories on both ovals and street courses.
“The IZOD IndyCar Series has given us some dramatic closing rounds in recent years, and the final two races of 2012 neatly summed up Ryan’s strengths: brilliant, daring driving in less than ideal track conditions at Baltimore, and keeping his head while driving an imperfect car at Fontana.
Malsher added: “As the champion, Ryan will be a credit to his team, his sponsors and IndyCar, like he always has been. But by being voted RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance, he’s also proven able to capture the hearts and minds of the readers. We’re pleased but not surprised by this: it’s well deserved.”
Malsher will personally deliver both coveted RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance trophies to Hunter-Reay at a special IZOD IndyCar Series preseason event in St. Petersburg, FL on Thursday, March, 21 prior to the opening race of the series on Sunday March 24.
The Spring 2013 issue of RACER includes full coverage of RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance, a wide-ranging interview with Hunter-Reay and the man he replaced as IZOD IndyCar Series champion, Dario Franchitti. The issue also features previews to the 2013 IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, ALMS, Grand-Am, WEC and NHRA seasons.