Chalk this one up as something out of left field!
It has been announced this afternoon that Ryan Hunter-Reay will be moving from the #21 Vision Racing car to the #14 AJ Foyt car to replace Vitor Meira for the remainder of the season.
Vitor broke his back after heavy contact with the wall at Indy after he was bumped by Raphael Matos in the closing laps of the race. His back did not need surgery to correct and the recovery process may wrap up before the end of the season. Earlier this week Foyt announced that Vitor may even be able to race in the final race of the season at Homestead. If his recovery goes well, then Foyt will field an additional entry for Vitor so that RHR can compete as well.
Vitor was replaced at Milwaukee by Paul Tracy and then later by AJ Foyt IV at Texas, but discussions between Foyt and Tony George have provided a place for Ryan to finish out the year.
Ryan Hunter-Reay currently is the subject of Izod’s advertising campaign for IndyCar which has Izod providing all of the official clothing worn by IndyCar staff. At the beginning of the season, Ryan Hunter-Reay had not yet found a ride, as his sponsorship backing at Rahal Letterman Racing dissolved forcing Rahal to not field an entry this year except at Indy. Vision Racing ended up being Ryan’s only option for this season, but Vision has not been able to provide him with a competitive car due to their own budgetary concerns.
While it is good news that RHR will be piloting a slightly more competitive drive, it is bad news for the series since they will be losing a full time entry from Vision. Vision is trying to put a positive shine on this by stating that they will be able to more fully focus on Ed Carpenter’s entry, but it is clear that they have not been operating with the unlimited funds of the family name.
While Vision’s season with RHR so far has been less than prolific, Ryan has managed to secure 10th place in driver’s points. Hopefully this effort can continue and improve with Foyt.