- Elton John blasts Russia’s anti-gay laws during Moscow concert
- U.N.: Afghanistan slow to enforce law protecting women
- Heart cancels SeaWorld concert after ‘Blackfish’ documentary
- South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower American flag for Nelson Mandela
- South Africans hold day of prayer for Nelson Mandela
- Mandela not on life support in final hours, friend says
- Ukraine protesters topple, decapitate Lenin statue in Kiev
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle removed from North Korean state documentary
- Thailand crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
- Campbell Soup apologizes for SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet
Hunter-Reay carrying the American flag in IndyCar
When Ryan Hunter-Reay picked up his third consecutive win last week, it pushed him into the lead of the IndyCar points standings for the first time in his career.
It also marked the first time an American has led the points since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006, and many believe drivers draped in red, white and blue is what IndyCar needs to flourish.
“It certainly does need successful Americans because it’s an American series that competes mostly in the U.S.,” said Hornish, who left IndyCar after the 2007 season for NASCAR. “I like watching IndyCar races, the racing has been really good this year, and it’s great that Ryan has been able to do what he’s done. It’s nice to see American drivers succeed.”
It was league founder Tony George’s intent to create a series for American drivers when he broke away from CART in 1996. Americans dominated through 2002, but since then Hornish’s 2006 championship is the last title for a U.S.-born driver.
Why? Hunter-Reay has a theory.
“For a little while, there was a lack of American talent,” he said. “There was far less American talent than there is now. You had myself, Graham (Rahal) and Marco (Andretti). Certainly we have more numbers this year, and more Americans a little farther along in their careers.”
The series boasts seven full-time American drivers this season, the most since 2007. Among them are Andretti and Rahal, the sons of racing royalty, and youngsters JR Hildebrand and Charlie Kimball, who both deferred college to pursue IndyCar careers. Josef Newgarden, a 21-year-old rookie from Nashville, Tenn., has shown flashes of promise this season, and Ed Carpenter of Indiana is the only owner/driver in the series.
Hunter-Reay is the veteran, and he is finally hitting his stride in his ninth season at open-wheel’s highest level.
His three wins this year are a career best, and it has doubled his win total in IndyCar. He has also led a 1-2 American finish in the last two races, leading teammate Andretti across the finish line at Iowa, and beating Kimball on Sunday at Toronto.
Michael Andretti, owner of the Andretti Autosport organization that fields cars for Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Canadian James Hinchcliffe, believes the lack of proper development has slowed American drivers.
Michael Andretti fields teams in all three IndyCar ladder systems.
“The farm system, frankly, hasn’t been great,” he said. “We haven’t had a real good one for a long time, and now we are finally starting to see more Americans coming along and see the fruits of that labor.”
But Andretti said he’s disappointed that more IndyCar team owners don’t participate in the ladder systems.
By Brahma Chellaney
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Sen. Rand Paul pushes 'economic freedom zones' for Detroit
- Redskins' season hits bottom with Chiefs blowout
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- FENNO: Mike Shanahan's empty words no salve to free-falling Redskins
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
- Sen. Rand Paul: 'I am seriously thinking about' running for president in 2016
- Legalizing illegal immigrants is the solution to Obamacare: Democrat
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
"Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better." - Dr. Richard Paul
Go beyond tourism's "top 10" bus tour destinations with Susan McKee as she explores the varied history, culture, food, and gardens, of the world.
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!