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Hinchcliffe targets Toronto after 'bizarre exit' at Glen


Despite being a proud Canadian, James Hinchcliffe was still hoping for some Independence Day fireworks in Saturday's Firestone Indy Lights race at Watkins Glen International. Sadly, the event proved to be something of a damp squib as he made an uncharacteristic early exit.

A promising start from third on the grid, despite battling a suddenly loose #7 HinchTown.com-backed Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry, looked set to pave the way for a bid on the lead, but the 22-year old rookie's race ended abruptly just seven laps into proceedings when he was pitched into the wall at turn six as the result of a sudden brake bias issue.

“It was just a bizarre way to exit the race,” claimed a still perplexed 'Hinch' upon his return to his native Toronto, “Normally when you spin out of a race like that, you know that either something broke on the car or you messed up, but that wasn't the case this time round and I was a little bemused sitting in the car post-incident.

"We ended up looking over all the data and it turned out that, for some reason, the brake bias had switched from the front to the rear of the car as I braked into the turn, meaning I locked up the rear wheels. That's what pitched me suddenly into the spin and, ultimately, out of the race.”

Points leader JR Hildebrand went on to claim a second win of the season, and now has a healthy 58-point lead over second-placed Mario Romancini after coming home ahead of polesitter James Davison and debutant Felipe Guimaraes. With Romancini and Wade Cunningham both joining him on the sidelines, however, Hinchcliffe knew that an opportunity to advance his own claims to the title had gone begging.

“It's pretty frustrating, simply from the point of view that other than JR scoring well, the rest of the guys around me in the standings didn't fare too well, so it would have been an opportune time to collect some decent points," he sighed.

"I was fighting a pretty loose car out there, but had it under control - I'd actually just set the fastest lap of the race before exiting dramatically. The good news is that I don't have long to dwell on Watkins Glen as we're back racing again this weekend and, better than that, we're back home in Toronto!”

Round nine of the Firestone Indy Lights Series is the first to run outside the confines of the USA, as the championship breaks new ground - in its current guise at least - to join the IndyCar Series on the streets of Hinchcliffe's home town.



Related Pictures

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James Hinchcliffe - Sam Schmidt Motorsports   [pic credit:IRL/Garrett]
Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6; and Tony Kanaan (right), driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6; celebrate with Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who raced to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power finished second. Kanaan finished third. Chevrolet took the top six places in the first race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher)
Juan Pablo Montoya enters Turn 3 during the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power clash in the closing laps of the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal waits on pit lane prior to practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal apexes Turn 1 during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal through the chicane during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal enters Turn 11 during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Saturday, March 28, 2015, after winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Saturday, March 28, 2015, after winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Saturday, March 28, 2015, after winning the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power, the defending champion driver of the series, led his Chevrolet Team Penske teammates to a 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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