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The Plight of the American Open-Wheel Racer

Saturday night's Firestone 550k was one of the best races for Andretti Autosport in recent memory. Andretti cars finished second, third, sixth, and seventh, one of their best performances as a team since the 1-2-3-4 sweep at St. Petersburg in 2005. Even better for Andretti, Danica Patrick, the all-world marketing superstar who has been struggling for much of the year, was the lead driver in that pack, and even briefly made the racing difficult for eventual winner Ryan Briscoe.

But Texas may prove to be bittersweet for Andretti, as it may be the final race for fourth driver Ryan Hunter-Reay. For the second consecutive year, Hunter-Reay's status as "the IZOD driver" will only take him about a third of the way through the IZOD IndyCar...

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