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Rough Start for Hinchcliffe in First IndyCar Event
Posted by: BGerhart on Apr 11, 2011 - 07:33 PM
Feature Articles
Rough Start for Hinchcliffe in First IndyCar Event




IndyCar action from Barber Motorsports Park.
Credit: PaddockTalk/Lisa Hurley




By Brad Gerhart

A day filled with hope quickly changed for Canadian rookie James Hinchcliffe on the very first lap of the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Legacy on Sunday afternoon.

In his very first IndyCar race Hinchcliffe qualified right beside two-time series champion Dario Franchitti on the fourth row. However, due to an early mishap Hinchcliffe spun out and fell to the rear of the 26 car field. He miraculously did not stall his No.06 Newman/Haas Racing Honda and soldiered on from there. “The team got me back on a great strategy; we were down to two stops and I think we were running pretty well,” said Hinchcliffe.


On lap 40 Hinchcliffe again got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time as E.J. Viso spun out in front of him and Hinchcliffe had no where to go. Needless to say Hinchcliffe had a few choice words for Viso on pit lane and then a face-to-face encounter occurred, with no physical contact, simply explanations of the event itself. A season ago Viso and the KVRT Team spent an estimated three million in parts due to on track contact throughout the year.

 

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“Day 1 of racing school you learn that when you are spinning you hit the brakes and the clutch and he just hit the gas. I went around the outside of him hoping he would just hit the brakes but he pinned it (hit throttle) and the back end whipped around and took us out,” Hinchcliffe said. “It wasn’t his fault (that) he spun; he just put himself in a bad position and ended up taking us out too.” Replays should contact between Simona de Silvestro and Viso prior to the contact between Viso and Hinchcliffe.

With the damage to the Sprott sponsored car the 24 year-old climbed out of the car for good before the half way mark of the 90 lap event on lap 40 for a 24th place finish in his first IndyCar action of his young career. At the time of the incident the Canadian made his way back up to 12th and looked destined for a strong finish.

Although he has yet to have any seat time at the historical streets of Long Beach in an IndyCar, Hinchcliffe did in fact win a pole and a race while in the Firestone Indy Lights. Newman/Haas Racing has been a predominant powerhouse at Long Beach in the past with six wins and 14 podium finishes in 28 contests, none of which have come since the open-wheel merger in 2008.



Brad Gerhart
bgerhart@paddocktalk.com


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