Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay now has a matching set of ESPY Awards.
Hunter-Reay, who won the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in a thrilling dash to the finish over Helio Castroneves, received the ESPY Award as Best Driver for the second consecutive year July 16 during the awards show telecast on ESPN from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. He became the first Indy car driver to repeat as the award’s winner.
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Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, NHRA champion John Force, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. also were nominees in the category that was determined by online voting.
“It’s a tremendous honor to win the ESPY,” said Hunter-Reay, who won in his second nomination. “The Indianapolis 500 is a tremendous race and this year was such a hard-fought and intense battle at the end. I think the fans really showed their support for the show they got from the Verizon IndyCar Series in May.”
Hunter-Reay, 33, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., claimed his first Indianapolis 500 win by outdueling three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves in the closing laps to become the first American to win the race since 2006.
Through 12 races this season, Hunter-Reay is third in the championship standings with three victories -- the most recent July 12 at Iowa Speedway -- and two other top-five finishes in the Honda-powered No. 28 DHL car for Andretti Autosport. The Verizon IndyCar Series contests twin 85-lap race July 19 and 20 as the headliner of the Honda Indy Toronto.
“I wouldn’t be able to be here without the support every member of Andretti Autosport,” Hunter-Reay said. “This is amazing to be celebrating with them and the rest of the Indy car community.”
Hunter-Reay won the Best Driver award in July 2013 following his Verizon IndyCar Series championship that he cemented in the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
The awards show, which celebrates the year's best athletes and moments in sports, was hosted by music artist and actor Drake. Football player Michael Sam won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, given to an individual whose contributions transcend sports.