Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates title in NYC

IndyCar's Ryan Hunter-Reay was atop the world Wednesday. Or at least the Empire State Building. Lynn Hoppes/ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- It's slowly settling in for Ryan Hunter-Reay, the IndyCar champion and first American winner since 2006.

Hunter-Reay, along with his wife Beccy, made the trek to New York for a media tour this week. SiriusXM. National TV interviews. An appearance Thursday on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

"It's really surreal and it's amazing," said Hunter-Reay, who captured the crown Saturday at the Auto Club Speedway oval in Fontana, Calif. "It's indescribable. I'm just living every moment."

On Wednesday, Hunter-Reay and his wife, who live in South Florida, toured the Empire State Building for the first time.

"I'm literally on top of the world. What a beautiful view," said Hunter-Reay, who had four victories this season. "This is the heart of America."

Now, Hunter-Reay is still undecided on whether to keep his No. 28 or switch to the No. 1, which is not customary in IndyCar these days but has been for champions on other circuits.

That's because the number 28 means so much to Hunter-Reay and his family.

"I would like to keep it," Hunter-Reay said. "But I just don't know yet. I think the sponsors might like the new number."

Hunter-Reay switched from No. 37 to No. 28 to signify the number of millions of people who are fighting cancer. His mother passed away at the age of 50 from colon cancer in November 2009. She inspired him to co-launch the Racing For Cancer foundation and work with Lance Armstrong's Livestrong organization.

"Winning raises the platform of awareness for our fight against cancer," Hunter-Reay said. "With everything my family has gone through, it makes it all worthwhile to win and give back."