WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- In September 2012, hours before wrapping up the Verizon IndyCar Series championship, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport announced a two-year extension of the driver’s contract.
Five victories, including the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in May, and four poles in 35 starts later, Hunter-Reay and team owner Michael Andretti announced before the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest the continuation of the pairing through the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The agreement matches the partnership extension of DHL as primary sponsor of the Honda-powered No. 28 entry.
Hunter-Reay, 34, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., joined the team in 2010.
“I can’t say enough about this partnership from where it’s come from day one to where we are now, how much we’ve grown together as a team. It really does feel like family,” Hunter-Reay said. “I really look forward to winning more in the future. I know with this continuity and security we can accomplish so much more.”
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Andretti Sports Marketing is the promoter of the race, which Hunter-Reay won in 2012 and ‘13. He also won at the Milwaukee Mile in 2004 under CART sanction. He is fourth in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings.
DHL, the global market leader in the logistics industry, came on board in 2011 and “has successfully been able to connect our global brand with the public and promote DHL’s international specialists,” according to DHL Express USA CEO Mike Parra. He noted that Hunter-Reay’s Indianapolis 500 victory created “a massive ad value.”
“This is a big day for big day for us to keep DHL in the family, and they have become part of the family,” Andretti said. “It’s also a big day for IndyCar racing to have a company like DHL committing to a multi-year deal."
Olympic medalist lives for speed
Sochi Olympic men’s skeleton bronze medalist Matt Antoine of Prairie du Chien, Wis., was a guest of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing on race day.
Team co-owner Bob Rahal is chairman of the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Foundation, which oversees fundraising and development efforts for the sliding sports. Antoine, who took a ride in the Indy Racing Experience two-seater on the Milwaukee Mile, met Rahal – the 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time CART champion -- at the training facility in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“As a kid, we went up for one of the CART races, and it was my goal to get every driver’s autograph. One of the last ones I got was Bobby’s,” Antoine said. “It’s kind of coming full circle to meet him now on a personal level.”
Antoine’s interest in Indy car racing in part led him to skeleton, in which the competitor lays prone on the sled.
“I also love the technical aspect, and that’s what I do know with skeleton. You’re always figuring out how to make it better, make it faster. That’s one thing I appreciates it about auto sports.”
Honda made its Milwaukee debut in 1984 with Bob Rahal and Mike Groff driving for Hogan Racing. ... Diane Hendricks, chairperson of ABC Supply Co., was the grand marshal. The company is based in Beloit, Wis. ... Josef Newgarden, who finished fifth in the No. 67 Direct Supply Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car, posted the fastest race lap of 161.696 mph (22.5979 seconds) on Lap 188. ... Race winner Will Power recorded the fastest lap by the race leader (159.877 mph; 22.8551 seconds) on Lap 145 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. ... The lone caution followed light contact by the No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM on Lap 131 in Turn 4.