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Andretti working to keep Hunter-Reay

Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti Autosport says it is pushing to retain Ryan Hunter-Reay for 2011 even though it has also lost the main sponsor on his car.

News that IZOD will not be the primary backer of Hunter-Reay's car next year means that Andretti is having to hunt for major new sponsorship for two of its four cars this winter.

The team is already looking for new funding for Hunter-Reay's team-mate Tony Kanaan's #11 entry. The Brazilian has an Andretti contract for next season but has been informed that he is free to move elsewhere as long-time backer 7-Eleven is pulling out.

IndyCar Series title sponsor IZOD backed Hunter-Reay's Andretti Dallara this year, although it only provided funding for the first seven rounds initially, and associate partners were found to ensure that the American could complete the season.

IZOD has now informed Andretti Autosport that it will not be the main sponsor for Hunter-Reay in 2011, but the team's senior vice president and chief marketing officer John Lopes said Andretti was determined to keep hold of Hunter-Reay and was actively chasing new backers.

"We notified our sponsor family late last week that Ryan's primary sponsorship was open for 2011 and 2012, and we have already received one offer," Lopes said.

"Putting together a proper full-season IndyCar budget these days typically takes multiple sponsor partners working together with the team and its fellow sponsors. Putting the puzzle together takes time, but Ryan may well be the most in-demand driver in our sport right now and we are fortunate that he brought all the right stuff to the team, and lots of key people noticed."

"We agreed to a new contract with Ryan the evening prior to this year's Indianapolis 500 and now it is the team's job to pull the details together quickly in order to put that contract into effect."

Hunter-Reay ended Andretti's victory drought by winning in Long Beach in April, and went on to take seventh in the championship, just behind Kanaan. Andretti also still has Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick signed up for 2011.

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