“I came close to crashing six or seven times,” said Team Ethanol Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay. But, they key is he didn’t. More than a handful of IndyCar drivers had problems out on the track during the 92nd Indianopolis 500 with several drivers like rookie Graham Rahal and veteran Marty Roth sliding into the wall at turn four after being caught too high around the bend. But Ryan, who was the top finishing rookie at 6th place, said his crew’s strategy was to be patient and stay low, really low.
That strategy proved to be the best strategy for a team that, as Ryan explained it, “had no luck.”
“You know what was nice about today, is we didn’t have any luck,” said Ryan. “You know, we didn’t have bad luck, we didn’t have good luck, we just had no luck.”
He says that’s all his team needed in order to snag the best Indy 500 finish in Team Ethanol’s history. Ryan says his team is definitely “punching above [its] weight” as it competes with teams like Ganassi, Andretti Green and Penske, but he says “there’s going to be much better things to come this year.” And a win isn’t out of the question for Ryan. All his team needs, he says, is a bit of luck.
Ryan steadily picked off cars throughout the race, both out on the oval and in the pits. Ryan started in position 20, but successfully passed 15 drivers holding 5th place in the final quarter of the race, before dropping back to a 6th place finish.
“When that line gets shorter and shorter in front of you after each pit stop and after each time you pick off cars and you’re so busy in you’re own little world there as you’re going through a stint. All of a sudden you’re sitting there with fifty laps to go in the race and there’s only four cars in front of you. It was like ‘Okay, we’re in it now.'”
Ryan said he did his homework, watching videos of past races just like a quaterback watches videos of past football games. “I’ve learned a lot of lessons this month,” said Ryan.
As far as the Indy 500 goes, he says, “qualifying doesn’t matter that much unless you’re on the front row.”
You can listen to Ryan’s comments from just after the race here: