2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Preview – Ryan Hunter-Reay

Coming into the 2015 season, Ryan Hunter-Reay is hoping to find the magic once again that led to championship glory in 2012.

Looking back at last year, he started off his season on the note that he would’ve wanted, posting four top-two finishes in the first five races. It looked as though he was on the road to another championship. That run was highlighted by a victory in the Indianapolis 500, where he led multiple laps and proved in the run to the checkered that he could performance top-notch.

Beyond the Indy 500 win, Hunter-Reay picked up a victory on the Barber Motorsports Park road course, and the short Iowa Speedway oval. That there proved why he is one of the top notch drivers in the series as he can get it done on any course.

While the results may not have shown it all year, Hunter-Reay was always near the front of the field all year, proving that he has what it takes, no matter the track, to score the victory. However, mechanical issues and a couple crashes resulted in many of those strong runs being derailed to back half of the field finishes and a total of five DNFs on the season. As a result, he would only finish sixth in points.

Andretti Autosport had all the pieces in 2012 across the board, but has lost that magic over the past two seasons. It wasn’t just Hunter-Reay that experienced the struggles, as James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti were plagued by the same issues. Hinchcliffe made the decision to leave AA and move to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in hopes of improved success. On the flip side, Hunter-Reay recently signed a multi-year contract, believing that they could turn it around.

AA has been through a funk before, though, and has been able to turn it around. With keeping the same people on his No. 28 DHL team, that will certainly help. Though while he will have the same people, AA is going through a big change.

At the end of the season in November, Kyle Moyer announced that he was leaving his post at AA as the Director of Racing Operations, and moving over to Team Penske for 2015. AA would hire his replacement at the beginning of January, in the form of Rob Edwards. Edwards served as the Team Manager for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports last year.

Depending how quickly it takes the team to adapt will depend how quickly everything gets shifting according to normal. Edwards seems to have the smarts, based on leading Simon Pagenaud to a top-five finish in points, but can he work that magic with AA and Ryan Hunter-Reay?

There’s also the variable of the new aero kits this year. Depending how AA adapts to those will depend on whether they have success. If they can find the edge quicker than their fellow competitors, it could be a very good year for Hunter-Reay.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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