minutes, the results will decide everything.
That’s what Hunter-reay felt when the
red light went on. We know everything’s
perfect right now, but can you just wait
quietly before we get going again?
“The red flag was like calling a timeout
with the score tied and two minutes to go
in the super Bowl,” Hunter-reay says. “it
all piled on. The pressure was
unbelievable. To have that good of a car
under me, and knowing i had the tools to
win, it was overwhelming. it’s the most
pressure i’ve ever experienced.”
He pauses with a knowing chuckle. This
feeling – this convergence of time and
perfection – was what he’d been seeking
from his chosen profession all these years:
“it’s what you strive to feel as a racer. it
was the ultimate moment in my career.”
DREAM BECOMES REALITY
Practice days at Indy
are spent searching
for setups that will
work on race day. Few
find all the answers,
but Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andretti
pretty close in 2014.
Ryan, Ryden and Beccy Hunter-Reay
celebrate victory in the 2014 Indy 500.
As Ryan Hunter-Reay coasted around
the track, mind in a fog, knowing he’d
just won the 2014 Indianapolis 500, but
searching for someone to validate it,
the voice of his engineer, Ray Gosselin,
crackled over the radio. “Oh my gosh,
Ryan,” Gosselin said. “I can’t believe it.
People are crying down here.”
While hearing those words,
Hunter-Reay thought about the two
people he wanted to see most of all:
his wife and his young son, Ryden.
Meanwhile, Beccy Hunter-Reay was
hugging ABC’s Jamie Little, seconds
before an interview that captured the
disbelief of everyone involved. “Did this
really just happen?” she asked. Then,
as the world watched, she exclaimed:
“We just won the Indianapolis 500!”
Hunter-Reay rolled his No. 28
Andretti Autosport car down pit road
and turned in to Victory Lane, much
like waking up from a dream in which
you visited a place called Oz.
“All I wanted to do was see Beccy
and Ryden,” he recalls. “And once I got
to Victory Lane, everyone was there.
I was able to see my crew and my
family. I remember seeing my dad,
especially. That was incredibly sweet.”
Ryden, then 18 months old, was the
star of the aftermath. For the photo
shoot next day at the start-finish line,
he wore a yellow firesuit, just like Dad’s.
Meanwhile, fog now faded, Hunter-Reay
was able to describe how it felt to win.
“This race is so fickle,” he said.
“There’s so much that has to go right for
you to end up in Victory Lane. You have
something like 10 pit stops, and every
single one of them has to be right. When
you think about what can go wrong, it
makes you crazy. You have inches
between yourself and the next guy when
swinging into your pit box. You can easily
run over an air hose. There’s so much
that can go wrong. The bottom line is
you have to have a good car and you
have to make minimal mistakes, plus
you have to have luck on your side.”
MOMEN T OF VICTORY
Many other sporting
trophies have their
engraved upon them,
but the Indy 500’s
takes it further, with
each winner getting
their face sculpted
and added to the
sterling silver marvel.
The winner’s face is
multiple angles the
morning after the
race and the likeness,
sculpted by William
the following winter.
Since 1986, winning
faces have been added
to the trophy’s base.
THE FACE OF
RYaN huNTER-REa Y
“THAT’S A PLACE I’D NEvER BEEN
BEFORE. AFTERwARD I COuLDN’T
EvEN RECALL THOSE FINAL LAPS.
AT INDY, IT wAS DIFFERENT”