IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay says a clear favorite is yet to emerge in this year's title fight.
Seven different drivers, Hunter-Reay among them, have triumphed in the opening eight races of 2013. There have also been several shocks, like Mike Conway winning at Detroit despite securing a seat just three days before the race.
Hunter-Reay says such an unpredictable opening makes it impossible to call a favorite for this weekend's race at Milwaukee, where he expects at least 10 drivers to be in contention.
"We're sure to have some surprises, as we have the whole season," Hunter-Reay said when asked how competitive he thinks Milwaukee will be."I think you'll see the usual players at Milwaukee, the usual teams that are quick.
"You'll have any one of 10 or 11 drivers [that] could win at Milwaukee this weekend. I expect it to be just as competitive [as the early rounds]."
Hunter-Reay added that Milwaukee carries extra significance for him, with his 2012 victory sparking his title-winning run.
"There is no place like the Milwaukee Mile. It is a hard place to get right, and when you do, it's so rewarding," he said. "It's been a place in my career that has meant a lot to me. I've had some pretty breakthrough performances in my career there, and I've also been on the other side of it where we just couldn't get it right and struggled, so I have a lot of respect for it for that reason.
"I think if you ask any other Indy car driver out there, they'll say it's probably one of the most fun ovals you'll go to, and at the same time, one of the toughest to get right."