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Hinchcliffe takes Long Beach Indy Lights win

James Hinchcliffe finally broke his Indy Lights victory duck by leading every lap in Long Beach.
by Lynne Huntting

Firestone Indy Lights polesitter James Hinchcliffe led from flag to flag at Long Beach to claim his first series victory in 18 starts.

The Team Moore Racing driver led all 45 laps of the event, bettering the 20 he headed in 2009 at Kentucky, the only other Lights event where he hd run up front. The victory also eased athe blow of seeing another pole position, in St Petersburg earlier this year, disappear when he was assaulted into retirement at the first turn.

"It feels like it has been a long time coming," 'Hinch' admitted, "We had a couple of close calls last season, and starting from the pole in St Pete didn't work out for us, but, all weekend long, the Team Moore Racing car was great, and I owe a huge thank you to all of the boys.

"Today's win was also a relief. There was a lot of pressure last year to win a race and we didn't get that done, so that weighed heavily on my mind all through the off-season.

"To get a first win out of the way and another pole is huge. Basically, it was a perfect weekend for us, and to do it here in Long Beach, at one of the staple events on the IndyCar Series calendar, is phenomenal. It was a huge relief and hopefully the first of many."

"We had a really good rhythm and pace, and then I kept seeing those yellows come out, but we had a great car on the restarts. Today was about not making mistakes, and it was great to have the pole.

The Canadian came home ahead of Charlie Kimball and points leader JK Vernay, who had started in the reverse order with Vernay alongside Hinchcliffe on the front row. However, once Kimball passed the young French driver, they stayed in that position for the duration, with Kimball equalling the career-best result he took last weekend at Barber Motorsport Park.

"I'm really pleased with my second podium finish in a row," the AFS/Andretti Autosport pilot admitted, "With Long Beach being like a home race for me, I was lucky to have friends and family here cheering for me, and the #26 car ran well all weekend.

"[Sebastian] Saavedra hit me before the start so I was worried about my right rear pretty much all race, but I had to focus on getting past 'Hinch'.

“I tried everything I could, threw the kitchen sink at him, but just couldn't catch him.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
James Hinchcliffe - Team Moore Racing   [pic credit: IRL/McQueeney]
Pit lane (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon spins during practice (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin slides into his machine prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
The pylon at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin sits in his machine prior to practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin on course during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin crosses the start/finish line during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin receives a handshake before his qualification attempt for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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