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Hunter-Reay turns season around in New Hampshire

Hunter-Reay received one big lobster for winning on Sunday
Maybe Ryan Hunter-Reay was expecting a silver cup or a glass bowl?

During the Victory Lane ceremonies for the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 on Aug. 14, New Hampshire Motor Speedway general manager Jerry Gappens presented the race winner with "Loudon" - a giant New England lobster. It required both hands of the surprised Andretti Autosport driver to display the crustacean.

"It caught me off-guard," said Hunter-Reay, an avid sport fisherman who resides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "The thing is looking at me as I'm holding it. He was huge. I didn't know they got that big. Hopefully, they put it back in the water or something."

"Loudon" was a bonus; Hunter-Reay received a more traditional trophy for winning the first Indy car race at the mile oval in 13 years. It was his first of the season and first on an oval in the IZOD IndyCar Series, and it mitigates some of the sting from a lost first half of the season in which he posted one top-10 finish in eight races, and being placed on probation by the sanctioning body for avoidable contact at Barber Motorsports Park in April and at Toronto in July.

In the past five races, however, he's on a roll with three podium finishes and top 10s in the other two (two ovals, three road/street circuits). Hunter-Reay advanced five positions to eighth in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings with the controversial victory on the 1.025-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway oval.

Hunter-Reay inherited the lead when Takuma Sato pitted for fuel on Lap 190. Sporadic sprinkles forced two caution periods, with the latter coming with 19 laps remaining in the race. Race officials determined the racing surface was dry enough to have a green flag finish, but the Lap 217 went awry when five cars slid and made light contact exiting Turn 4. After a red flag on Lap 220, officials reverted to the race order that existed before the final restart.

"I knew we had a good car this weekend and in practice we'd been making the car better and better," said Hunter-Reay, who drives the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda entry. "The crew has done such a good job. We have great chemistry on this team and it's a great result. This one is for them. I wish that it was different, but we'll take it after the year that we've had."

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