IndyCar »

Indy 500: Hinchcliffe bounces back to front row

A week ago, a concussed James Hinchcliffe looked unlikely to race in the Indy 500, but he bounced back to secure himself a front row starting spot.
When flying debris knocked James Hinchcliffe out during the inaugural road race at Indianapolis the weekend before qualifying for the Indy 500, it looked touch and go whether or not the popular Canadian would be able to return to the cockpit in time to get himself into the biggest race of the year.

Hinchcliffe was sat out for five days after being diagnosed with concussion, during which time the #27 Andretti Autosport car was worked on by stand-in driver EJ Viso. Hinchcliffe wasn't finally declared fit to return to duty until Thursday.

"Knowing I'm going to a dark room that is going to determine my fate, it wasn't the most comforting feeling certainly," he recalled of the crucial medical re-evaluation. "It was more nerves I think than any lasting effect from the accident ... When those results came in, it was a huge relief. They determined I'm just as brain-dead as I was before!"

Unfortunately the weather then conspired against him and he got only a few minutes of running on Fast Friday. He was going into qualifying sorely lacking in preparation - and yet he still went on to secure himself a place in the Fast 9 shootout on Saturday, and then a front row position on Pole Day.

"To think about the fact a week ago I wasn't allowed to operate a cell phone," said Hinchcliffe after securing second place on the grid. "I was lucky that I don't remember the accident so I didn't have any nerves to get over.

"[That] I'm whipping an IndyCar around IMS at 230-something miles an hour is pretty incredible," he marvelled. "It's only because of so many people, everything from the doctors, my family taking care of me at home, all my team mates who did such a good job getting these cars ready.

"I jumped in Friday, one run, look where we ended up. Big thanks to Kurt [Busch], Carlos [Munoz], Marco [Andretti], Ryan [Hunter-Reay] and EJ, everybody at Andretti Autosport," he added. "I had to kind of pretend I had been here all month and take the feedback my team mates were giving me at face value. I knew what to expect from the car, and that was a huge part of it.

Not that it had been an easy ride to success: "The thing was a handful. I was working pretty hard for it. Into turn three on the last lap, it stepped out on entry a little bit, I had to take some wheel out of it, made for some understeer on exit. You don't have time for correction. I knew I had to crack the throttle. I was screaming in my helmet down the front stretch.

"I was working on the tools like crazy," he continued. "I had to crack the throttle. I don't think anybody's ever been on pole at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway cracking the throttle over four laps, so I kind of knew right then and there [that I wasn't going to get pole.]"


Page 1 of 1
1 2  »


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 had the fifth fastest four-lap average of 230.323 mph Saturday, May 17, 2014 during the first day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power and the eight other fastest drivers will compete for pole position on Sunday. (Photo by F. Peirce Williams for Chevy Racing)
Will Power in his car prior to qualifying (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (Photo by: Tim Holle for IndyCar Media)
Will Power during the post-qualifying press conference (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe climbs into the #27 Andretti Autosport car for practice on Friday. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Ed Carpenter and James Hinchcliffe compare notes (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe in the post-qualifying press conference (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy 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 - 2014 Crash Media Group

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