“I can’t believe I hadn’t been there,” said Hunter-Reay, the 2008 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. “It was amazing. The place is what Indy car racing is all about, and that’s what makes Indy car racing special. To go there as a current Indy car driver made it even more special. To see the cars that were driven by owners of team’s I’ve driven for and the ones driven by my heroes and know they all went to Victory Lane here at Indy made for a very special day.”
The one car that that the Andretti Autosport driver wanted to see was Rick Mears’ 1984-winning Pennzoil Z-7 Special. Hunter-Reay’s first go-kart was modeled after Mears’ race car and seeing the real car for the first time brought back childhood memories for the IZOD IndyCar Series standout.
“The No. 6 Pennzoil car, in smaller form, was my first ride,” he said. “That’s what I got into a lot of trouble in. It was my neighborhood wheels and I did my first right front wing damage in that car when I hit a stop sign.
“It was really cool to see the actual car. I’ve never seen it before, but to see the evolution of the Indy car was really neat to see. To see where the sport actually started and how the cars have developed over the years, and see what made these cars go faster and faster. Indianapolis has always been a proving ground as much as it is a huge race.”
Hunter-Reay was far from the only driver in the Museum. 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones and Dreyer & Reinbold’s Justin Wilson were visitors to the exhibit of 67-winning Indianapolis 500 winning cars.
And while Hunter-Reay told all the well-wishers in the Museum his plan was to have his Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car join the winning cars in the Museum next year, he hopes to get another visit to see the cars on display again.
“I’m going to go back again before I leave this month,” Hunter-Reay said.