The Ryan Hunter-Reay shuffle

Posted by Iannucci | 6/12/2009 | 15 comments »
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Call this subtraction by addition. Via their Facebook page, Vision Racing has just announced that driver Ryan Hunter-Reay has been, uh, loaned(?) to AJ Foyt's team for the remainder of the year.

Considered a win-win situation for all involved, Vision Racing driver Ryan Hunter-Reay will be taking over piloting duties of A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply entry for the remainder of the 2009 IndyCar season beginning at next weekend’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway on June 20-21.
In the respect that Vision had a driver without a sponsor (personal IZOD contract notwithstanding) and Foyt had a car without a fulltime driver (Vitor Meira's recovery notwithstanding), perhaps this can be considered a "win-win" situation...except for the fact that it's a NET LOSS of an entry for the remainder of the year.

Here's how Vision owner Tony George explained the reasoning behind the handing of Ryan to another team.

“We knew there would be challenges bringing Ryan (Hunter-Reay) on board at such a late juncture, but we did so knowing the benefits it would have to our program on the long term,” explained Vision Racing owner Tony George. “My commitment remains with keeping Ryan Hunter-Reay in the series and with Vision Racing for the long term. We had high hopes that we’d be able to attract the primary sponsorship necessary to continue through the course of the season and into the future. While those efforts have been rewarded with some positive developments and opportunities which we are actively pursuing and developing, it did not provide for the short terms needs and our ability to ensure a successful program for the balance of the season.”
The obvious thing that jumps out is that in so many words Mr George is saying "We thought we might get some sponsorship for Ryan, but we didn't, and an extra car is pretty darn expensive." Now, people can spend all day bleating about how millionaires are supposed to spend their money, but most millionaires try not to be in the business of losing money for any extended period of time. No one wants to see the car count creep down any further, but if downsizing the team allows George and his peeps to focus on finding sponsors for the league instead of a single car that would eventually be a "win-win" I suppose.

Mr George is, we are led to believe, on a tightened budget these days.

The other thing that struck me was that Mr George made certain to show his "commitment" to Ryan "for the long term", which gives every indication that he wants to have him back with Vision Racing in 2010. Of course, if there is no sponsorship next year then Ryan's position becomes not much different than Alex Lloyd's for the past few years as a rideless driver on the payroll, but I suppose it's the thought that counts. Especially if IZOD is going to continue to bombard us with that same commercial over and over and over.

"Everything gonna be all right...hehe..." We can only hope.

ADDENDUM: Foyt's press release on the subject clarified any possible conflict with their current convalescing driver.

Meira is expected to return for the final race of the season in October, when, if he has recovered fully from his injuries, Foyt will run two cars at Homestead-Miami Speedway.


  1. Carrie // June 12, 2009 9:53 AM  

    Am not a happy camper. We all know what happened the last time a Gordon drove for AJ and Ryan's nearly one by marriage now. :-)

  2. James // June 12, 2009 10:03 AM  

    A zen question: if you drive for Foyt and you end the race six laps down, are you even competing at all?

    Interesting that Foyt IV is out (again). I thought he was in the wall (this time) because something broke.

  3. gnome // June 12, 2009 10:19 AM  

    WELL, we know that Foyt's car aren't terrible on road courses (Manning produced some good showings) and this will be easier for the stability of the lineup for the rest of the year. It's gotta be better on ovals than the God-aweful secondhand car RHR's had so far.

  4. Justin // June 12, 2009 10:32 AM  

    This makes room for Pink Lloyd and his HER money @ Vision....

  5. Tom G. // June 12, 2009 10:50 AM  

    Justin beat me to the punch. I was having the same thoughts about a HER car at Vision for Lloyd.

    Unless of course he becomes the umpteenth driver this year to run at the back of the pack for DRR.

  6. Justin // June 12, 2009 10:53 AM  

    Alex has something up his sleeve. He wouldn't tell Chip to stop paying him if he didn't.

  7. AZZO45 // June 12, 2009 11:41 AM  

    Wow... how will they merge the RHR's Graphite & Orange of sponsors IZOD & WilliamRast with the Red/ White/ & Blue of AJ's ABC Supply???

  8. AZZO45 // June 12, 2009 11:45 AM  

    Justin: If "HER" had $$$ for additional races Floyd (Chip) would have run Lloyd!!!

    Tony might still be CEO of IMS, but his budget was "adjusted"... HER wouldn't get a discount @ Vision & WTF would Alex want to go to Vision? Except for St. Pete... look how bad Vision prepped cars for RHR!!!

  9. llilly // June 12, 2009 11:49 AM  

    HER and Target?

  10. Justin // June 12, 2009 11:54 AM  

    So you are telling me it costs the same amount for a car @ Vision as it does @ Ganassi. I don't think so. So the discount is built in.

  11. Anonymous // June 12, 2009 6:01 PM  

    The bad part about this move to Foyt's an UPGRADE from that Vision #21. Foyt an upgrade ? I guess.

  12. AZZO45 // June 12, 2009 7:02 PM  

    Justin... Tony can't afford "discounts", just ask RHR & IZOD (major idea).

    WTF would Alex Lloyd want to risk his neck @ a discounted POS Vision ride??? Read between the lines brother... RHR was getting sick of the 3rd rate car prep from his #21 team.

    The truly telling sign is RHR feel AJ Foyt Racing is an engineering UPGRADE!!!!

    Plus this is a pointless argument... its seems H.E.R. is with Floyd & not Lloyd! So throw HER on the Danica/ Ganassi rumors, eh?

  13. J.J. // June 12, 2009 8:34 PM  

    I've asked Stanton Barrett this--he's keeping mum, but one team in search of a sponsor is the 98 ride--they have no permanent driver and Lloyd and the HER sponsorship sure wouldn't hurt that team.

  14. Dale Nixon // June 13, 2009 6:03 AM  

    a) Lloyd stated himself he may or may not have a future relationship with HER, but that he has some backing for the remainder of this year.

    Not exactly sure which kind of sponsor-retention clause TGR includes in their deals, but I don't think it's a given HER can shop with Alex right now.

    b) Vision is not adding another car.

    c) No one wants to be in the 3G car.

    d) Obviously Foyt and Vision both gain a cost reduction for the remainder of the year. Foyt has torn up alot of machinery so far, so they get a driver and engineer (and maybe a couple chassis) for essentially free. Vision doesn't have to run two full teams, trucks, crew, etc.

  15. Anonymous // June 13, 2009 10:56 AM  

    maybe AJ IV didn't want a ride for the rest of the season? he's getting married in a few weeks... maybe he's saving himself for marriage, so to speak. ;)