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IndyCar Driver of the Year 2011: 7th

You voted James Hinchcliffe into 7th place in Crash.net's IndyCar Driver of the Year poll!
Top 10 IndyCar Driver of the Year 2011:
7. James Hinchcliffe

Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Team: Newman/Haas Racing
2011 starts: 16
Poles: 0
Wins: 0
Top 5: 3
Top 10: 7
Championship points: 302
Championship position: 12th

Runner-up in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights series, Canada's James Hinchcliffe got a delayed start to his 2011 IndyCar Series opportunity when he was signed by Newman/Haas only after the first race of the season at St Petersburg had already been run.

He didn't make it to half-race distance in his deferred d├ębut at Barber Motorsports Park, but he then finished in fourth place the very next time out at Long Beach and went on to finish in the top ten again in the appalling wet weather conditions in Sao Paulo.

Suddenly, people were paying much closer attention to the Mayor of Hinchtown. There were two more back-to-back top ten finishes mid-season at Milwaukee and Iowa, and two more fourth place finishes at New Hampshire Motorspeedway and Kentucky, as he demonstrated a consistent improvement in performance as the season went on and his confidence and expertise grew.

The Newman/Haas team even managed to scrape together enough sponsorship money to include Hinchcliffe in the long-haul flyaway race to Japan in October after all - it not having been included in the original contract. Motegi wasn't a great result for him in itself, but without it his six point lead over JR Hildebrand in the battle for the Rookie of the Year would have been reversed and he would have ended up losing out for the accolade.

Having had such a good start to his IndyCar career while also establishing himself as a popular member of the IndyCar family, it was devastating to hear that he might now find himself without a seat altogether in 2012 after the news broke about Newman/Haas' exit from the series. Surely someone will recognise his talent and his sheer likeability and ensure that the young Canadian isn't out of work next year?

Top 10 IndyCar Driver of the Year 2011 results so far:

8. Graham Rahal
9. Ed Carpenter
10. JR Hildebrand



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
James Hinchcliffe (CAN - Newman/Haas Racing) relaxed with his team during the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Thursday, May 12 [Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
James Hinchcliffe in the pits during Saturday practice at Motegi. [Picture credit: Brian Simpson for IndyCar Media]
James Hinchcliffe poses for two photographs at the same time at Motegi. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
James Hinchliffe on track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Canadian local hero James Hinchciffe an unsurprising favourite with the press and media at Edmonton. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
James Hinchcliffe [Picture credit: IndyCar media]
Cars jostling for position through turn 2 during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Racewa (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The confetti flies as Scott Dixon celebrates winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon takes the twin chequered flags to win the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his win in Victory Circle after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The field scatters as the drivers avoid the cars of Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Briscoe at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon and the #9 Target Chip Ganassi team celebrate after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon poses with the trophies after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud on the podium after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon toasts his success in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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