NTT IndyCar Series

Hinchcliffe: Hometown Podium is ‘Gratifying’

A fuel economy run for James Hinchcliffe worked out perfectly en route to a third-place finish, his first top five in his hometown.

“No doubt this will be a highlight in the career reel, memory reel. Hopefully, we can better it in the future,” he said. “It would be so great to win here. I’ve just always wanted to give the Toronto fans a good result because they’ve been so supportive day in and day out from the start of my IndyCar career.”

The Oakville, Ontario native pitted at Lap 47 for the final time, with the caution flying four laps later.

“When we stopped and switched over to blacks, we lost the balance a fair bit,” he said. “We were really struggling for pace. I was just trying to hold on to the thing, to be honest. We weren’t entirely sure how it was going to play out.”

The leaders pitted, allowing Hinchcliffe to gain valuable track position, which he held on to through the final 30 laps while saving enough fuel to reach the finish.

“I feel bad for guys like Scott (Dixon) that got caught out by that yellow,” he said. “It happens. We’ve been on the other side of it for sure. Will (Power) has been on the other side of it at this race; it happens. It’s the nature of the beast. For the number of times it goes against us, we’ll take the time it goes to us.

“As the track cooled down, the cloud cover came, the car started coming to us. That was well timed. When you’re trying to save fuel but keep guys behind you, it’s tricky. The Schmidt Peterson guys were great in the pits. The car was good on fuel when it needed to be.”

Hinchcliffe admitted he was unsure whether he’d be able to keep the third spot, especially on the one-lap dash at the end following a late caution.

“It’s tough when you know that Tony Kanaan is behind you, that’s for sure,” he said. “I got a little bit of extra boost, like I said, seeing the crowd stand up in turn 11. I knew all my family and extended family and friend group were sitting in that grandstand. Like I said, that kind of gave me a little boost just to make sure we got a really good run off of turn 11.

“I knew we had an extra overtake compared to T.K. that might come into play. I was feeling good, feeling confident. We were keeping him behind us before. There was no reason to think we couldn’t do it again.”

Despite growing up only an hour from Toronto, Hinchcliffe had always struggled on the difficult street course. Now with a successful run under his belt, Hinchcliffe says it’s rewarding and gratifying.

“For once in my career here in Toronto we caught a lucky break,” he said. “It’s not just that I haven’t had great luck here, I’ve had insanely bad luck here. Today we were on the other side of that. It’s part of IndyCar racing.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularopenwheel.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement. 

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