MIAMI (CBSMiami) – He averaged 186-miles per hour on the Indy 500 racetrack and life hasn’t slowed down one bit for Ryan Hunter-Reay one bit.
The Fort Lauderdale native was in town for a victory celebration at AutoNation. CBS4’s Rhiannon Ally sat down with him to talk about his big win and what he loves about South Florida.
His life changed forever when he won the Indy 500, one of racing’s top honors.
“It’s a dream come true. Everything that comes along with it has been so much fun. It has been a rollercoaster. I’m hanging on having fun with it,” Hunter-Reay.
Hunter-Reay is a member of Michael Andretti’s team, the Andretti Autosport team in the IndyCar Series. Andretti was on hand to help celebrate the big win. AutoNation also presented Hunter-Reay with a check for $500,000 for his “Racing for Cancer” Charity.
“The hometown support has been huge. It’s massive. I’m so proud of where I live. It’s so great to come home,” said Hunter-Reay.
He beat Helio Castroneves by a fraction of a second, becoming the first American to win since 2006.
“To get the stars and stripes up there again was a big deal for me,” said Hunter-Reay. “I’m pretty patriotic and I always grew up that way.”
And that’s a lesson he is teaching his 17-month old son, Ryden. His family attends almost every race and Hunter-Reay says that’s what drives his need for speed.
“Having our 17-month old son there in victory lane was amazing. Something I’ll remember forever,” said Hunter-Reay.
Ryan drank the ceremonial milk, but said his son wasn’t interested in sharing, ”He refused to drink the milk, which I think he’ll regret that one day.”
“Isn’t the hope that he’ll get a chance to drink the milk again and again,” Ally asked Hunter-Reay.
“I’m not getting ahead of myself. One foot in front of the other. One step at a time,” he replied.
When asked if there’s racing in his son’s future, Hunter-Reay said unfortunately, probably yes.
“I was hoping he’d pick up a set of golf clubs, maybe a tennis racket. I think watching him race would be too hard on me.”
Even Ryden’s mom, Beccy is on off-road racer and comes from a racing family. Along with a love for racing, this family also loves South Florida. After all, what better place to live life in the fast lane?
“You’re a race car driver. How do you deal with South Florida traffic,” Ally asked.
“South Florida traffic is what groomed me into the driver I am today. I- 95 and dealing with traffic in Fort Lauderdale. It’s definitely made me the driver I am today. It’s more difficult I think on streets of Fort Lauderdale than racetrack,” Hunter-Reay replied.