Racer From Boca Looks for Upset in Indy

Former Boca Raton resident Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified to race in Sunday's Indy 500 -- now he just needs to pass every single one of the Formula One cars who will start in front of him.

Last Sunday, in the last ten minutes of a drama-filled "Bump Day," Hunter-Reay managed to snag the 33rd -- and last -- spot, thanks to racer Alex Tagliani pulling out twice in the final 19 minutes.

 "I've never been so happy to take last place," Hunter-Reay told the Associated Press. This comes after a frustrating month during which, according to his website, things kept going wrong. "The speed just wasn't coming," writes the graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale.  "[I] have no idea what the reason is for our lack of speed, we have some ideas, but unfortunately those answers just aren't available to us right now. If I were to give my reasons it may not be politically correct." Hmmm. Does he feel his car is the wrong color?

Whatever his reasons, record books suggest Hunter-Reay's chances of winning the race are slim. No one has ever gone from 33rd place to the champion's circle. The longest long-shot winners were Ray Haroun and Louis Meyer, in 1911 and 1936, respectively, who finished first after they each started from the 28th position.

Hunter-Reay did, however, place 6th last year, when he started in 20th. It helped him win the Indy 500 "Rookie of the Year" award in what was considered a tough rookie class. So he's the underdog of underdogs. But these racers make ungodly amounts of money when they don't even win, so don't feel bad for him.

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Erica K. Landau