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Hard work, good effort, disappointing finishes: Hunter-Reay’s 2016

Phoenix International Raceway - Day 1

AVONDALE, AZ - APRIL 01: Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the #28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda IndyCar prepares for qualifying to the Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway on April 1, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Ryan Hunter-Reay had gotten used to having strong performances at Barber Motorsports Park.

He won in 2013 and 2014 and finished fifth in last year’s race.

In this past Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at BMS, Hunter-Reay worked his tail off, as usual, only to finish a disappointing 11th.

What’s up with that?

“That was a lot of hard work for P 11, I don’t even know what to say,” Hunter-Reay said after the race. “With no yellows coming out, we needed at least one yellow for our strategy to work out.

“We had nothing, no help. We’re really looking for some luck this year at some point, hopefully we’re saving that up for Indy.”

The next two Verizon IndyCar Series races are at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14 and the milestone 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

Those races offer hope for Hunter-Reay to turn his season around. In the first two editions of the Angie’s List race, he finished second in 2014 and 11th last year.

In the Indianapolis 500, he has had eight starts, with a win in 2014 and a third-place finish in 2013. He finished 15th in last year’s race.

Hunter-Reay is hoping to turn around a season that has seemingly gone downhill after his third-place (and only podium) finish in the season opening race at St. Petersburg.

From there, he’s gone from third to fourth to seventh and now to 10th in the IndyCar point standings after four races. He finished 10th at Phoenix, 18th at Long Beach and now 11th at Alabama.

“We’ve had nothing, if not bad luck this year,” Hunter-Reay said.

Follow @JerryBonkowski