Ryan Hunter-Reay rallies to a top-ten finish at Pocono, finishing eighth in a backup car that had very little practice for the race, and with getting cleared to drive not long before the race was to start.
It was during qualifications for the for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, that Hunter-Reay, driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda, for Andretti Autosport, was involved in a solo crash at the start of his qualifying lap. He hit the wall, slid down the track and hit the wall on the opposite side of the track. He was helped out of the car and after complaining of knee and hip pain was taken to a local hospital to be further evaluated. Late Saturday night Hunter-Reay was released from the hospital. However, he was not cleared to drive and would have to be reevaluated by the IndyCar medical team in the morning before that decision would be made.
On Sunday, after further evaluation, the American driver was cleared to drive in the race. He would start last. When the green flag flew he slowly worked his way up into the top-ten. He even went on to lead 11 laps later in the race. When the checkered flag waved, he crossed the finish line in the eighth position.
“I’ve been through 500 miles plenty of times, but I’m just beat after this one,” Hunter-Reay said. “It was a great run though, we started with a lot of downforce since we started at the back of the field. Because we didn’t have a final practice or warmup after qualifying, it took a while to get the balance of the car right”, said Hunter-Reay. “We started really slicing our way through it and I thought ‘Hey, we really have something here.’ We were leading at halfway. I thought it was going to be a good end to the race, but we just didn’t get enough downforce out of (the car). I was getting big runs on guys, but just couldn’t complete it. But I’m really happy to just get back in the car today and put the effort forward. We put on a good showing for DHL and for the fans out here, and that’s important. It was a test today; it was a mental test, no doubt, and a physical one as well. I was really glad to roll back into pit lane after the race and see the crew here with smiles on their faces.”
Hunter-Reay now sits 11th in the championship points standings.