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Mar 26, 2013 - 06:27 AM
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IndyCar Victory for Canada's James Hinchcliffe
Posted by: BGerhart on Mar 26, 2013 - 06:27 AM
Feature Articles
IndyCar Victory for Canada's James Hinchcliffe



March 24: James Hinchcliffe winner during the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg IndyCar race.




By Brad Gerhart

Put one in the win column for the Mayor of Hinchtown.

Yes, that is right, Canada finally has another IndyCar race winner in Oakville, Ontario’s James Hinchcliffe.

Late Sunday afternoon Hinchcliffe won the IZOD IndyCar season opener in St. Petersburg become the very first Canadian to win a major open wheel race since Paul Tracy won his last career open-wheel race at Cleveland back in 2007.

With a almost in disbelief look clearly on his face Hinchcliffe remained seated in his No. 27 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet as he began to soak in the moment of his sensational accomplishment. Once the hat went on Hinchcliffe exploded out of the cockpit with raw emotion with the Canadian flag to his back for the world to see. "I don't think you can get much better than winning the first one because as soon as I crossed the line I burst into tears,” Hinchcliffe said, and I never thought that was going to happen when I won my first race.”

 

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Helio Castroneves gave up the race lead to Hinchcliffe on a lap 85 restart when Castroneves got too deep into turn one and allowed Hinchcliffe to make his move on the inside. Once in the lead Hinchcliffe kept the three-time Indy 500 champion behind him, although Castroneves filled up his mirrors for the remainder of the race he never really threatened to pass along the way. Hinchcliffe beat him to the line by 1.098 seconds for Andretti Autosport 44th team victory.

Of course the St. Pete‘s victory was extra special for Hinchcliffe with it being the home of the late Dan Wheldon and Wheldon‘s widow waving the flag to begin the 2013 IZOD IndyCar season. Wheldon had signed on to drive the GoDadddy.com car before his fatal death during the 2011 season finale in Las Vegas. “There’s nowhere that I would have rather had my win in this car than right here in St. Pete,” Hinchcliffe said.


Now in 32 career starts Hinchcliffe has as many IndyCar victories as the previous Go.Daddy.com driver, Danica Patrick had in her 115 races. It also took Patrick 50 races to earn her first victory which came at Motegi back in 2008 ( a few years before GoDaddy.com became the primary sponsor). Blake Irving, CEO of GoDaddy was fairly impressed with Hinchcliffe’s accomplishment. “There's nothing like that first win. It's inspirational because it goes to show how important it is to have big goals and never give up.”

The 2011 IndyCar rookie of the year, sure has big time goals, he paid his dues in various open-wheel ladder series’ for the better part of a decade before he eventually graduated up to the big leagues with legendary Newman-Haas Racing back in 2011. The resources at Andretti Autosport are definitely there for Hinchcliffe to have a serious shot at a series championship. A year ago Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay took home the championship and the team sure has another on its mine.

“It's a great win for James Hinchcliffe and Andretti Autosport,” Hunter-Reay said.

Alabama is next up on the IndyCar schedule in two weeks time, a year ago Hinchcliffe finished the race in sixth onward to what was five top-six finishes to start off the season. Another solid outing would do wonders for the likeable Canadian kid.



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