IndyCar »

Hinchcliffe: From where were on Friday....

Crash.net columnist James Hinchcliffe wracked up a second successive podium finish in the Firestone Indy Lights Series in Sunday's race around the streets of Long Beach but, despite his rookie status in the series, reckoned that he could have done better than third place.

With the narrow confines making qualifying for the weekend's single race all the more important, 'Hinch' overcame a disappointing practice day behind the wheel of the #7 Sam Schmidt/HinchTown.com entry to fire himself into pole contention on Saturday. With qualifying again split into two groups to accommodate the 25-strong field, the Canadian set the pace throughout his timed session until American Jonathan Bomarito pipped his lap time as the chequered fell.

However, the American was deemed to have been too quick with the track under caution, and the subsequent penalty awarded to Bomarito promoted Hinchcliffe back into P1 and a first Indy Lights front row slot.

Targeting polewinner JR Hildebrand from the start of the 45-lap race, the #7 held second place in the early laps, but a moment for the leader prompted Hinchcliffe to lift off, fearing a potential accident. A swift save by Hildebrand meant any contact, either with the wall or from those behind, was avoided, but Hinch's flinch allowed Richard Philippe to dart past and steal second spot.

With mistakes needed to promote overtaking on the narrow racing line, the top three then remained static to the chequered flag, leaving Hinchcliffe wondering what might have been had his reflexes not been quite so sharp.

“I have to be honest and say it's a little disappointing not to have finished as runner-up as I believe that, after JR, we probably had the second fastest car on the grid,” he admitted post-race, “That said, I'm happy to have scored a second straight podium and, from where we were on Friday, this is actually a pretty decent result."

With the streets of Long Beach graciously allowing 'Hinch' to emulate the third place he claimed from his first ever start on the layout back in 2006, back-to-back top three results leave him a solid fourth in the driver standings, now just nine points adrift of series leader Junior Strous.

"Again, the whole crew worked hard between Friday and Saturday and everything clicked, as was evidenced in qualifying," he reflected, "We're sitting well in the points, it is extremely close at the top already, so we're just hoping to carry our momentum into the first oval race of the season in Kansas.”


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
James Hinchcliffe - Sam Schmidt Motorsport
Ed Jones, Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar [Credit: Ed Jones PR]
Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) celebrates at Laguna Seca
Kyle Kaiser - Juncos Racing
Ed Carpenter Racing crew working on the boss` car   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Santiago Urrutia - Schmidt Petersen Motorsport
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Mikhail Aleshin - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Chris Owens]
Mikhail Aleshin - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Mikhail Aleshin - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Chris Jones]
Ed Jones - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Josef Newgarden - Ed Carpenter Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Shawn Gritzmacher]
James Hinchcliffe - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Josef Newgarden - Ed Carpenter Racing [credit: Chris Jones]
James Hinchcliffe - Schmidt Peterson [credit: Chris Owens]
Spencer Pigot - Ed Carpenter Racing

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.