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Ed Carpenter (left) and Ryan Hunter Reay on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (IndyCar photo)

Hunter-Reay Lands IndyCar Drive With ECR

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — “Captain America” is hoping to save the day at Ed Carpenter Racing.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was named the new driver of the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet in the NTT IndyCar Series on Thursday morning.

The news comes just one day after fellow American driver Conor Daly was released from the team.

Hunter-Reay’s debut for the team will be the June 16-18 Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.

Hunter-Reay, recognized as one of the most successful American open-wheel racing drivers, brings a wealth of experience to ECR with an IndyCar career that spans two decades. 

“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed,” said Hunter-Reay, winner of 18 IndyCar races including the 2014 Indianapolis 500. “He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help. Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in BitNile.com.”

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., driver is an NTT IndyCar champion (2012). Hunter-Reay also has multiple overall IMSA sport scar wins, the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans among them, has been invited to the Race of Champions five times and has won two ESPY Driver of the Year awards (2013 and 2014).

Most recently, he competed in the 2023 Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, leading eight laps in the closing stages of the race and ultimately finishing 11th.

“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world,” Hunter-Reay said. “Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an NTT IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber. However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, while representing BitNile.com,  we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”

Team owner Ed Carpenter believes the addition of Hunter-Reay will continue to elevate ECR.

 “We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader. I am excited to welcome Ryan to the team,” stated Carpenter. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test. I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”

Hunter-Reay will race alongside Rinus VeeKay, driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. Carpenter will round out ECR’s three-car lineup at the oval events in the No. 33.