Robin Miller | speedtv.com
Letâ€™s be honest, an American pulling off the trifecta in Indy cars is as newsworthy as it is rare.
The guy standing in the back of the crowd during Sundayâ€™s victory lane celebration at Toronto cupped his hands and started chanting: “Hunter-Reay, Hunter-Reay, Hunter-Reay.”
Sitting on his winning car while posing for photos, Ryan Hunter-Reay recognized the voice, turned his head and gave Mike Kelly a big grin and thumbs up.
“I wonder if people will start talking and writing about Ryan now,” said Kelly, the executive vice president of Phillip Van Heusen marketing whose IZOD sponsorship helped RHR finally find a home with Andretti Autosport back in 2010.
“I mean, what does this kid have to do to get some recognition?”
Just win, baby, just keep on winning.
On the heels of his third consecutive IndyCar win, Hunter-Reay made the cover of Monday’s USA Today sports section and even got a shout out on ESPN.
Let’s be honest, an American pulling off the trifecta in Indy cars is as newsworthy as it is rare.
A.J. Allmendinger did it in back in Champ Car in 2006 but the last time it happened in a unified series was Al Unser Jr. in 1994.
“Anybody done four in a row?” asked RHR, breaking into a grin. “OK, I’m not getting ahead of myself, this is very special, a big thrill and very gratifying.
“It’s tough to win one, let along three in a row, but this team is hitting on all cylinders and we’re on a roll.”
The 31-year-old native of Boca Raton, Fla. has vaulted from fifth to first in the standings in only four weeks and now owns a 34-point edge over Will Power with only five races remaining on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule.
“This is what I’ve always wanted,” said the graduate of Barber Dodge and Toyota Atlantics. “But it’s tough to beat Dario, Will, Dixon and these guys and there’s a lot of racing left so we know things can change next race and we could be struggling.
“But it’s nice to be in this position.”
Especially considering how long it’s taken to get into that position.
Despite his obvious ability in Atlantics and personable, marketable persona, Hunter-Reay looked like one of those guys destined to be fast and forgotten.