If you aren’t a fan of James Hinchcliffe, well, I doubt you and I can be friends. Seriously, it’s pretty much impossible to not like the guy. He’s hilarious off track and when things line up, a beast on track.
In 2013, he captured his first IndyCar Series career wins in the season opener at St. Petersburg, the street circuit in Sao Paulo and on Iowa’s short oval. 2014 was a bit of a “sophomore slump” after the stellar season past; he lacked a victory, landing a slew of top 10 finishes including a podium at Mid-Ohio. And other than his win at the rain-soaked NOLA Motorsports Park in April, the Mayor’s 2015 season is one that most of us would like to forget.
But that’s fine, because Hinch is not looking back. He’s focused squarely on the track in front of him and waiting for those checkered flags to come into focus before anyone else gets a glimpse at them. That determination was clear today when the IndyCar Series kicked off their weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Hinch ran 6th quickest in the morning practice and moved up to 2nd in the afternoon session and overall for the day. P2 is also the best start Hinch has had at Long Beach and he’s looking to repeat that if not exceed it. His best finish here is P3.
“Everything is relative. We’ve had a difficult start to the season, but not like the end of my last one. It’s easy to still sleep well at night knowing things could be worse. We had a strong car in St. Pete, qualified decently, inside the top 10 there. The race didn’t play out. Phoenix was its own deal. We’re looking to try to turn that around this weekend, start getting some points on the board.” – James Hinchcliffe
The No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda will have, fundamentally, the same set up as the season opener. Hinch mentioned that albeit their rocky start in Florida, they held a race pace very similar to the leaders. He has high hopes for what a clean race on Sunday for him could lead to for the team. Let’s hope it leads to a podium for the Canadian – if for no other reason than this: a top 3 finish puts Hinch in the post-race press conference. And when Hinch is part of a press conference, everybody wins.