Hunter-Reay Frustrated with Dixon ‘Hip Check’ Despite Competitive Weekend
Even after completing a clean sweep for Andretti Autosport in the second Mid-Ohio doubleheader, Ryan Hunter-Reay was left frustrated over what he perceived as a missed opportunity and a run-in with Scott Dixon before landing on Sunday’s podium.
Hunter-Reay was running third late on Saturday but was passed by Alexander Rossi and Graham Rahal and fell back to fifth. On Sunday, Hunter-Reay was run off the track and onto the grass by Dixon in a battle for second on Lap 20.
However, the problem was that Dixon was on a different pit cycle due to his Lap 22 spin, and technically wasn’t racing amongst the lead group. The off-track excursion allowed Rossi to pass Hunter-Reay for what became second once the strategies played themselves out.
On equal tires, Hunter-Reay wasn’t able to re-pass Rossi and was left wondering what could have been. The overall mood was just the totality of two frustrating days where the 2012 IndyCar champion felt he could have contended for the win.
“It’s a good day for Andretti Autosport, finishing 1-2-3,” Hunter-Reay said. “It’s been a pretty rocky season for the team overall, so it was nice to get that in. For me, just missed opportunities kind of all weekend… We had good pace, just feel like we could have finished up a few more spots every day.
“But all in all, ran a good race today. Was running hard with Dixon there, got hip-checked off the track. That’s when Rossi got by me, and we finished in line from there.”
Hunter-Reay hasn’t won in IndyCar Series competition since Sonoma Raceway in 2018. The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to anyone at Andretti Autosport and it was starting to wear thin on the native Texan.
He also lamented a decision to send his qualifying group out second on Saturday because it reversed on Sunday. That meant qualifying first on a track that was still damp from morning thunderstorms.
The best the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner could muster was the eighth starting spot.
“I think we were actually really good in qualifying this weekend,” Hunter-Reay said. “The No. 28 has been the highest qualifying car of the year so far. It’s just we haven’t been able to put it together for one reason or another. But being fastest in practice Saturday morning, we picked our group, and it ended up being the wrong pick. Obviously, that [also] dictated pole today, being that the group that was on pole was Colton’s group, on a drying racetrack. Just the wrong call. We couldn’t foresee that coming.
“On these shortened double race weekends [we miss] the extended practice time we would usually have to get ready for qualifying, and it all comes down to that at some of these tracks where it’s very track position related. Like Gateway, for instance: once you settled into a rhythm, that was where you ran. But yeah, we’ve had the speed this year, just haven’t been able to put it together…
“I don’t know, I’m just a little frustrated today. I was running second, went around the outside of Dixon. I think Dixon and I have raced each other clean hundreds of times – I’ve never been hip-checked off the track by him and I’ve never hip-checked him off the track. But hey, that gave Alex the position and I finished third.
“I’m okay, I’m fine, it’s racing, it’s all good. It’s a little frustrating, that’s all.”
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