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Ryan Hunter-Reay, the Indy 500 and the National Aquarium

5.22.13 (via Washington Post) – Ryan Hunter-Reay slipped a mood ring on his finger one morning this week and looked at its color-coded diagnosis.

“Calm,” he reported.

The IndyCar driver tried on a second ring in the National Aquarium’s gift shop. The same cool blue result greeted him.

“I am so calm right now, it’s ridiculous,” he decided.

He was joking, but Hunter-Reay had just spent the better part of an hour explaining how marine life is a calming force in his life, a relaxing distraction from piloting his Andretti Autosport ride better than 200 mph on ovals and road courses around the hemisphere.

It’s why spends his offseason deep-sea fishing, and spear fishing, and exploring ocean wrecks. It’s why one of his favorite cardio workouts is a half-mile swim in the ocean near his Fort Lauderdale home, and why he works on his breathing by free diving. It’s why he has a 210-gallon custom-built saltwater aquarium in his home, and it’s why we decided to skip a formal interview in favor of a trip to the National Aquarium in the basement of the Commerce Department.

“They’re beautiful fish,” Hunter-Reay told me at one point, as we stared at a tank of lionfish. “But they’re like rats.”

 

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