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Hunter-Reay in fast company
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If there's a favorite for Sunday's Indianapolis 500, odds are it's a member of Andretti Autosport.

Andretti drivers have won three of the first four races in the Izod IndyCar Series this year, and all five drivers qualified in the top nine for Sunday's race.

Andretti also sports the reigning IndyCar champion — Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will start seventh in the 97th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Alongside pole winner Ed Carpenter, the front row will feature two Andretti drivers — rookie Carlos Munoz (second) and Marco Andretti (third). Teammates E.J. Viso will start fourth and James Hinchcliffe ninth.

"When you have a fast race car, things are so much more enjoyable. You're just happy," Hunter-Reay said on Monday. "To get all our guys in the Fast Nine is a huge testament to our team."

The 32-year-old Hunter-Reay, the first American to win an IndyCar Series championship since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006, doesn't hesitate when asked whether winning the Indy 500 is a bigger deal than winning the series title.

"It's the biggest single-day sporting event in the world," said Hunter-Reay, whose best finish at Indy was sixth in 2008. "It's the race that everybody watches, but it's even bigger than racing. It's kind of magical.

"I remember as a kid watching, and the guy at the end of the race who won, he may as well have been Superman."

While the Indy 500 is the first oval race of the year, Andretti drivers have had strong command of the road races.

The Long Beach Grand Prix was the only race that didn't have an Andretti driver on the podium.

Hinchcliffe opened the season with a victory at St. Petersburg, Fla., and pulled out a last-lap pass to win in Sao Paulo, the series' last stop before Indy. Hunter-Reay, who led the series last year with four wins, has Andretti's other victory, at Birmingham, Ala. —

Indy 500

P Sunday, 9 a.m.

TV • Ch. 4

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