The Christmas break silence from the IndyCar paddock was ended yesterday with the announcement that Ryan Hunter-Reay would be driving for Andretti Autosport this season. While we knew that this was coming, we were starting to get a little concerned at the lack of announcement.
But all is not rosy, as it appears that so far IZOD has signed on to be the primary sponsor for Indianapolis and a handful of other races. As of yet, the extent of the program (number and location of races) has not been made known to the public.
Michael Andretti said “We are excited about what we’ve put together with PVH (Phillips Van Heusen) and Ryan, and believe we can grow this program substantially over the next several months,” said Michael Andretti, owner of Andretti Autosport. “We felt it was important to announce what we know and what we’ve secured, which is a great partnership under the IZOD brand name and a program that we feel will give Ryan an excellent shot of winning at Indianapolis. How far we take him into 2010 is still in the works, but we feel good about the potential that we will add Ryan to our driver lineup for the full season.”
Ryan will pilot the illusive #37 this season which makes all of those IZOD shirts sold last season mean a little bit more (since no #37 existed on the grid in 2009). But now the focus for Andretti and RHR shifts to getting the rest of this program locked in place, whether that means further negotiations with IZOD or going the old Marco route with an Indiana Jones driver suit and Meijer sponsorship sprinkled on an ever changing paint scheme.
The most important thing to note is that Ryan is a proven winner with race wins in CART, CCWS and the IRL. He is a talented young American driver who could help define the new face of the IndyCar series and he is finally paired up with a team that can help him win races.
Ryan will be the 4th entry fielded at Andretti Autosport with full season entries already confirmed for Tony Kanaan, Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti. His addition will only make Andretti a stronger team.