Hunter-Reay enjoys Champion's Day in Manhattan: Less than a week after winning the IZOD IndyCar Series championship, Ryan Hunter-Reay was standing on top of the world again. Only this time it was the Empire State Building's observation deck.
The location for a photo shoot with the Astor Cup and Q&A with media on Sept. 19 was among the multitude of stops the IZOD IndyCar Series champion made on the initial day of the Champion's Tour of New York.
"What a great day and what great memories -- from the top of the Empire State Building, which I learned today took just one year and 45 days to build, to being with my old friend and car owner Dave Letterman on his show," said Hunter-Reay, who clinched his first series title Sept. 15 at Auto Club Speedway in a season-long battle with a stout lineup of competitors.
"The view from the top of the Empire State Building was totally amazing. We did media and photos on the observation then they took us to a private viewing deck on the 103rd floor. Wow, what a stunning and amazing view. It's something I'll never forget; it was a clear day and you could truly see for miles and miles.
"The 103rd floor private deck was not for the faint of heart, and something I'll never forget. No fencing or high walls; just a knee high retainer between you and a lot of fresh air. (Wife) Beccy and I both thought it was spectacular and we thank the staff of the Empire State Building for allowing us to see the city with a totally unobstructed view."
The quick elevator ride was preceded by on-set interviews on CNN's "Starting Point" (it was host Soledad O'Brien's birthday), CNN International Sports and the Auto Smarts Radio Network, plus appearances on four Sirius XM Radio channels and an interview with the Wall Street Journal -- all before lunch.
Following a brief respite, Hunter-Reay participated in a Twitter chat on NBC Sports Network, interviews with Sports Illustrated, Bloomberg TV and Men's Health in addition to taping the "Late Show with David Letterman."
The interview with Hunter-Reay, who drove for then-Rahal Letterman Racing in the 2007 and '08 IZOD IndyCar Series seasons, will air at 11:35 p.m. (ET) Sept. 20 on CBS.
"The thing about the 'Late Show with David Letterman' that surprised me was back stage before I went on," Hunter-Reay said. "I am a race driver not an actor. Standing behind the stage waiting to be introduced you hear the crown laughing and having fun. You know you'll be out there with Dave soon and you want to keep them laughing and happy. I hope I did.
"It's also about 40 degrees on the set. I was wearing a brand new three-piece Tommy Hilfiger suit and that barely kept me warm from shivering. My Florida blood is too thin. I might have been better off in my DHL Sun Drop Chevy firesuit to stay warm. Dave was great and it was something I'll never forget."
The Champion's Tour continued Sept. 20 with appearances on "Fox & Friends" on the Fox News Channel and "The Morning Drive" on the Golf Channel in addition to more radio and print interviews. Then it's back home to Fort Lauderdale to unwind and let the accomplishments of the dramatic and grueling season sink in.
"Fun and memorable for sure," Hunter-Reay said. "I'd be glad to win the Indy 500 or championship again and repeat what we did."