LOS ANGELES — Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay now has a matching set of ESPY Awards.
Hunter-Reay, who won the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 with a thrilling finish over Helio Castroneves, received the ESPY Award as Best Driver for the second consecutive year Wednesday night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. He became the first Indy car driver to repeat as the award’s winner.
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, NHRA champion John Force, NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. also were nominees in the category that was determined by online voting.
“It’s a tremendous honor to win the ESPY,” said Hunter-Reay, who won in his second nomination. “The Indianapolis 500 is a tremendous race and this year was such a hard fought and intense battle at the end. I think the fans really showed their support for the show they got from the Verizon IndyCar Series in May.”
Hunter-Reay claimed his first Indianapolis 500 win by outdueling three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves in the closing laps to become the first American to win the race in nearly a decade. Hunter-Reay won Saturday’s Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway.
Through 12 races this season, Hunter-Reay is third in the championship standings with three victories and two other top-five finishes in the Honda-powered No. 28 DHL car for Andretti Autosport.
“I wouldn’t be able to be here without the support every member of Andretti Autosport,” Hunter-Reay said. “This is amazing to be celebrating with them and the rest of the Indy car community.”
The awards show, which celebrates the year’s best athletes and moments in sports, was hosted by music artist and actor Drake. Football player Michael Sam won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, given to an individual whose contributions transcend sports.