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Hunter-Reay extends contract with Andretti

Whatever happens in tonight's 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season finale, Ryan Hunter-Reay at least knows that he has a seat in the sport next year after re-signing with Andretti Autosport.
Ryan Hunter-Reay has signed a multi-year contact extension to his contract with Andretti Autosport, with the team confirming the deal ahead of this weekend's IZOD IndyCar Series season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

A team source revealed to The Associated Press on Friday that the deal was done, and on Saturday the team issued a statement making the two-year extension to Hunter-Reay's official.

"We are happy to have Ryan back with us for the 2013 and 2014 IndyCar seasons," said the team's president, chairman and chief executive officer Michael Andretti. "He is a tough competitor and has become an important part of our team."

Hunter-Reay has been with the team since 2010 and finished in seventh place in the championship for two consecutive seasons, but this year goes into the final race as the only man who can prevent Team Penske's Will Power from clinching the 2012 title.

"Today we are focused on leaving Fontana tonight with a championship," Hunter-Reay said. "I'm happy to be able to enjoy the off season knowing what the next two years hold."

It had been rumoured over the past few weeks that Roger Penske, the owner of Team Penske, had been making a serious effort to sign the 31-year-old Texas-born driver to his own squad, but in the end Hunter-Reay opted to stay where he felt he belonged.

"I have a lot of deep rooted relationships with the team and the team sponsors and I'm looking forward to continuing and further developing those relationships," he said. "I'm looking forward to my return with Andretti Autosport and hope to have the opportunity to speak more on it soon."

Hunter-Reay's career in the series has been up-and down over the years, and before he moved to Andretti after stints at Rahal Letterman Lanigan in 2008 and AJ Foyt and the now-defunct Vision Racing in 2009 it looked as though Hunter-Reay was adrift and might not get a proper chance of achieving success in IndyCar.

Even once he moved to Andretti Autosport it has not been all plain sailing: the team had a slump in 2011 which included the ignominious failure of the squad to qualify Hunter-Reay onto the grid of the 2011 Indianapolis 500. Ultimately, in order to appease team sponsors, Andretti bought Hunter-Reay a seat with AJ Foyt Racing at the expense of Bruno Junquiera who had already managed to qualify the car for the race. It was an embarrassing low point for all concerned.


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Related Pictures

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Ryan Hunter-Reay in his car. [Picture Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media]
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in victory lane at the Milaukee IndyFest - Wisconsin, 16 June (c) 2012, Lesley Ann Miller LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on track at Edmonton City Center Airport. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Ryan Hunter-Reay in the pit lane at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. [Photo: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates pole position in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads Sebastien Bourdais during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads James Hinchcliffe during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchliffe (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay around the fountain turn during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe in the hairpin during practice at Long Beach -- Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finished third. (Photo by LAT/ Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Helio astroneves celebrate on the podium. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Helio astroneves celebrate on the podium. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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