Ryan Hunter-Reay ready to help Alexander Rossi's IndyCar title bid

Ryan Hunter-Reay is just going for race wins now his IndyCar championship bid has faltered, but will also try to help Andretti Autosport team-mate Alexander Rossi claim the title

Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar champion, took his first win for almost three years in Detroit this season but has suffered multiple misfortunes since.

Last weekend he was involved in the Pocono accident that left Robert Wickens seriously injured.

The result is that Hunter-Reay now lies 119 points behind championship leader Scott Dixon, while Rossi is only 29 adrift of the Chip Ganassi Racing driver with three races to go.

Pos Driver Points
1 Scott Dixon 530
2 Alexander Rossi 501
3 Josef Newgarden 464
4 Will Power 449
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 411

Asked when he would start playing wingman for Rossi, Hunter-Reay commented: "We're definitely still in the fight, at least for the top three. The championship? I'd have to win from here out and these guys have a really bad few weeks, no doubt.

"It's still possible, but it's a fair stretch.

"We're concentrating on just getting race wins. That's what it's been all year, and that's what we're focused on.

"Obviously Alex and I have worked really well in the past together. We always have.

"If there's anything that we can do in the final stretch to bring the Andretti Autosport team back to being champions here in the Verizon IndyCar Series, that's our ultimate goal.

"We had a pretty good run going this season and the past couple weeks have been tough for us, but we still have some good strong races ahead, and hopefully we can both make a run for it."

Rossi said the team was "not looking at wingman scenarios right now" but appreciated the knowledge he has gained from Hunter-Reay.

"I would say the majority of what I've learned in this series has come from Ryan," said Rossi.

"I attest a lot of things, especially on ovals, to what he's explained to me and taught me and demonstrated.

"We work well together and we're both fighting for race wins and working together to try and make that happen.

"I still need to win races. Scott is not - as I've said many times - going to have a bad weekend, so we're still quite a way out, and the only way to close that gap is to win races."

Rossi suggested outright team orders at Andretti Autosport were unlikely, but pointed out that his other two team-mates Marco Andretti and Zach Veach had helped his cause while he was dominating at Pocono.

"Marco and Zach were awesome for me in Pocono," he said.

"I came up to lap them, and they made my life really easy.

"I think that that's really the extent of what you're going to see - if [a team-mate] is having an off day, they'll try and make your life as painless as possible."

Track action for this weekend's Gateway IndyCar round on Friday was delayed by rain, with practice beginning just under three hours late.

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