Ryan Hunter-Reay hopes that his third place at Mid-Ohio on Sunday marks a return to form after a frustrating 2019 IndyCar campaign.
The result matched his third place at COTA early in the season, but outside of that, the Andretti Autosport driver has only scored four top five finishes, and came into this weekend after a three-race streak outside the top 10.
“I feel like we’re just back to where we really should be,” said Hunter-Reay. “We’ve had speed. You look at Road America, we had speed. We had speed at plenty of the races. We finished fourth and fifth at Detroit, just missed the podiums there. We were just missing a little something. We definitely had it this weekend. We got it back. We qualified 10th. That put us in a pretty big hole to dig ourselves out of.
“But it’s just little things. Right now as competitive as this series is, if you’re missing a tenth and a half here or a tenth there, it’s a big deficit, and if you’re not executing 100 percent on strategy or approach or any of it, there’s going to be somebody else who is. Yeah, we just missed a few, and it’s nice to be back where we should be when we executed. That’s what we did today.”
While Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist were bouncing off each other while battle for the win just ahead of Hunter-Reay in the closing laps, he found himself at the center of an equally dramatic moment when points leader Josef Newgarden hit him and spun into the gravel while trying to claim the final podium spot. Newgarden owned the mistake, and Hunter-Reay said that he didn’t hear from the Penske driver after the race.
“Where I got out of my car was right there across from his pit when he got out of his,” Hunter-Reay said. “I’m sure if he had an issue with it, he would have come and talked to me. I’m sure he would have probably liked that last lap back, for sure.”