Andretti hoping to re-sign Hunter-Reay within weeks

Hunter-Reay is Andretti's top driver and he wants to re-sign him before another team steals him away

If winning the Indianapolis 500 wasn't payday enough, Ryan Hunter-Reay is close to hitting the jackpot again, the Indianapolis Star has learned.

Like the summer sun, talks are heating up to keep the one-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion in Andretti Autosport's DHL-sponsored No. 28 car.

Hunter-Reay is set to become a free agent at season's end, and his timing couldn't be better. He said interest in re-signing from the sponsor and Michael Andretti's team "accelerated after Indy."

"The pedal went to the floor," Hunter-Reay said Friday before qualifying 12th at Texas Motor Speedway. The Firestone 600 is Saturday (8:50 p.m. Eastern, NBCSN).

Hunter-Reay, who flirted with joining Team Penske before re-signing with Andretti, said he wants to remain with the Indianapolis-based team that's been the strongest at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the past two years. He finished third in 2013.

Andretti feels so good about their relationship that he's hopeful a deal can be finalized "in the next couple of weeks."

"We're working on sponsorship and all that stuff," Andretti said. "He wants to be here, we want him, so we're just working through the details right now."

Hunter-Reay said he's left the negotiating to his father, Nick.

Hunter-Reay's car earned $2.49 million for the 500 victory. Top-level drivers with a salary such as his often receive 40 percent of the prize money — in this case about $1 million.

It's unclear where IndyCar's driver market stands, but Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion, could sign for around $2 million annually in what amounts to a three-year deal (two years with an option for a third).

After resolving Hunter-Reay's contract, Andretti's next order of business will be exercising an option on James Hinchcliffe. Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz are signed through the 2015 season, the team owner said. Indy Star

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