Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay shared with CBS talk show host and Verizon IndyCar Series team co-owner David Letterman on June 2 what was going through his mind during the final lap of the May 25 race, which he won by .0600 of a second over Helio Castroneves in the second-closest margin of victory in its 98 years.
"(On the last lap) my heart was coming out of my chest knowing that the biggest race in the world is on the line," said Hunter-Reay, driver of the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport car, on the "Late Show with David Letterman." "I came out of that last corner and I remember looking in my mirror and seeing Helio's yellow nose closing up, closing up and I'm looking up and the checkers are going, and the feeling when you cross the finish line I will never forget the feeling of emotion."
Hunter-Reay drove for the team co-owned by Letterman and '86 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal in 1007 and '08, winning on July 6, 2008, at Watkins Glen.
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"Why didn't you win the '500' for us?" inquired Letterman, who was co-owner of the 2004 Indy 500 winning team with driver Buddy Rice.
The question drew laughter, with Hunter-Reay reminding Letterman he did win the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award for finishing sixth after starting 20th.
Though not able to make up for that shortcoming, Hunter-Reay off camera presented Letterman with the BorgWarner twin-turbocharger from the Honda engine of the winning car. Earlier this year, Letterman announced that he would be retiring from the "Late Show with David Letterman," which first aired in 1993, in 2015. Stephen Colbert will be his successor.
Following the show, Hunter-Reay attended the premiere of "The Fault in Our Stars" at the Ziegfeld Theater in Manhattan. The feature film, based on the novel by John Green, centers on the relationship between cancer survivors.
"This movie means a lot to me because of the story," said Hunter-Reay, who founded Racing For Cancer following the death of his mother from cancer. "It looks like a lot of eyes are going to be on the screen, and that’s good news for the fight against cancer."
Check out clips from the "Late Show with David Letterman":