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Hunter-Reay extends contract with Andretti

This year, with the team line-up of Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti gelling from the start, Hunter-Reay's season began with road course podium finishes at St Petersburg and Sao Paulo, and then a blazing mid-season streak of three consecutive race wins at Milwaukee, Iowa and Toronto.

Despite those victories, poor outings at Mid-Ohio and Sonoma had appeared to have put an end to his hopes of making a run at the championship, until he pulled off his second road course win of the year at Baltimore two weeks ago to set up a season finale title decider at Fontana this weekend.

Michael Andretti emphasised the importance of the team dynamic and the close partnership between his three drivers in particular.

"[Ryan] is the ultimate team player and I know we can count on him, along with his teammates, to continue to be a foundation for us," said Andretti. "We believe that he, Marco and James will continue to work together and take the team to great places with great success."

"Hinchcliffe coming here just moulded the team back together with his lively spirit and everything like that," added Andretti Autosport general manager Kyle Moyer. "It's really made it fun.

"The climate within the Andretti team in 2010 and 2011 was plain to see during a walk down pit lane, and it wasn't one that looked happy or inviting," Moyer told US cable channel SPEED. "That same stroll through the Andretti pits today is a much different experience: you'll find a lot more smiles, laughs and the general weight that stifled the team is nowhere to be found."

Moyer compared the 2012 line-up to the famous "brotherhood" that formed almost a decade ago when Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan, Bryan Herta and Dan Wheldon were all at the team.

Andretti Autosport clearly believes Hunter-Reay is a vital part of recreating that chemistry and former success, and has no intention of breaking up the band any time soon. This weekend, they've put their money on the table and signed the deal - leaving Roger Penske with some interesting off-season thinking to do about his own line-up at Team Penske.

How that goes will likely depend on whether Penske or Andretti end up going into 2013 with the reigning champion on their books: Will Power, or Ryan Hunter Reay?




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]
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, and his team perform the traditional kissing of the bricks after racing to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
James Davison on track on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson resplendent in the Rolling Stones livery for the #25 Andretti Autosport Honda in pit lane on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson resplendent in the Rolling Stones livery for the #25 Andretti Autosport Honda on track on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti and Sage Karam at IMS (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Walter Kuhn)
James Hinchcliffe during practice prior to Qualifying for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (Photo by: Leigh Spargur)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Mike Harding)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Jim Haines)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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