WEST ALLIS, Wis. — When Ryan Hunter-Reay picked up his first win of the season in Alabama, he regretted that his wife and newborn son weren’t on hand for Victory Lane photographs.
He made up for it Saturday with an early Father’s Day celebration at his favorite track, no less.
Hunter-Reay continued Andretti Autosport’s domination at the Milwaukee Mile, winning the IndyCar event for the second year in a row and third time in his career. He became the first driver to win back-to-back races at the Mile since Tony Kanaan in 2006 and 2007 when he was driving for ... you guessed it, Michael Andretti, himself a five-time winner at Milwaukee.
“At Barber, that was one of the races that Beccy and our son didn’t come to and I felt bad because we didn’t have the pictures of him in Victory Lane, so this is even better,” Hunter-Reay said. “To do it on Father’s Day, to do back-to-back at Milwaukee, I love this place. Every driver, you ask them, they respect this oval the most.”
Andretti drivers have won five of the last nine races at the mile oval and nearly had a perfect day Saturday in a race that was promoted for the second year by Michael Andretti’s marketing company. Hunter-Reay got the win, E.J. Viso finished fourth and James Hinchcliffe was fifth.
The only blemish was pole-sitter Marco Andretti, who led the first 62 laps before his day fell apart with an electrical issue.
“He let me down,” joked father Michael Andretti. “I really feel bad for Marco. He was running really strong, really strong all weekend.”
But it was still a huge success for Andretti, who is in negotiations with IndyCar to promote the race next year but makes winning at Milwaukee a priority for his organization.
“We come here with a philosophy of what I had back when I was driving, and we just carry that on, try to stress that to the engineering and the drivers on the way we used to do it then,” Andretti said. “There’s things we used to do that really used to work. Seem to still be working.”