Vision Racing's Ryan Hunter-Reay is to take over driving duties in A.J. Foyt's ABC Supply entry for the remainder of the 2009 IndyCar season, beginning at next weekend's Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway.
Hunter-Reay, who drove the #21 Vision Honda Dallara to a second place finish in the 2009 season opener in St. Petersburg in Florida, is currently tenth in the IndyCar Series Championship driver points standings and will now serve as a temporary replacement for the injured Vitor Meira.
Meira, who is recovering from a back injury sustained in the Indianapolis 500 last month, is expected to return for the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where AJ Foyt Racing is set to field two cars for the season finale.
The move had partly come about with Vision struggling to find primary backing for Hunter-Reay's ride, although team owner Tony George insists that the driver remains a firm part of his future plans.
"We knew there would be challenges bringing Ryan on board at such a late juncture, but we did so knowing the benefits it would have to our programme on the long term," he said. "My commitment remains with keeping Ryan Hunter-Reay in the series and with Vision Racing for the long term.
“We had high hopes that we'd be able to attract the primary sponsorship necessary to continue through the course of the season and into the future. While those efforts have been rewarded with some positive developments and opportunities which we are actively pursuing and developing, it did not provide for the short terms needs and our ability to ensure a successful programme for the balance of the season.
"Following the Texas race, it became clear that this could be a reasonable solution to a number of challenges and it needed consideration. A.J. Foyt and I spoke candidly about what Ryan had to offer. We all feel Ryan will be able to contribute to their programme and provide continuity for the rest of the season while they await Vitor's return."
Hunter-Reay himself admitted that team was right for all parties.
"We all have the big picture in mind for Vision's future, and that is not only to find our way to victory circle, but for Vision to have a programme that is capable of challenging for the Championship," he said. "As competitive as the Indy Racing League is today, those goals require a strong commitment not only by the team but also by sponsors and partners. In the very short time I have been at Vision their efforts in developing sponsorship and B2B opportunities have yielded positive results which have laid a strong foundation we intend to build on.
"The reality of such a programme demands equipment, resources, and an appropriate budget so the talented men and women of Vision Racing have the tools to succeed. Together we have obtained the best result in the history of the team, and despite our challenges we remain in the top ten in the Championship. Knowing what I know today, I am optimistic of continuing with Vision in 2010 with a strong programme. Again, I want to thank everyone on the Vision Team for their hard work and particularly Tony, Laura, Lauren, and the George Family for their continued support."
Vision Racing will interrupt operation of the #21 entry with team members being temporarily reassigned to re-focus all efforts on the team's operation of the #20 Menards entry with driver Ed Carpenter, as well the Firestone Indy Lights development program with driver James Davison.