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Jul 21, 2014 - 06:36 AM
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Tough Luck Continues for Hinchcliffe in Toronto and a Possible Change of Scenery?
Posted by: BGerhart on Jul 21, 2014 - 06:29 AM
Feature Articles
Tough Luck Continues for Hinchcliffe in Toronto and a Possible Change of Scenery?


By Brad Gerhart

The hometown streets of Toronto have yet to be too kind for “The Mayor of Hinchtown,” James Hinchcliffe.

Dating all the way back to his earlier days of racing on Gerry Forsythe’s Toyota Atlantic team in 2006, Hinchcliffe has only put forth a single top-five finish in nine races, a podium third while a member of Sam Schmidt’s Indy Lights program of 2009.

Since then Hinchcliffe moved forth to the Verizon IndyCar series where he raced in the big leagues for four full season and now six times at his home track. However, for whatever reason, luck (well make that good luck) has yet to be on the side of the likeable Canadian when in his native country.

 

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Hinchcliffe did tie his best finish at the 1.755 mile street circuit around Exhibition Grounds of eighth during the first Honda Indy Toronto race on Sunday, which gave him a boost of confidence that his United Fiber Data Honda may be on the right track for the afternoon race.” I'm pleased with a top 10 in Race 1, but we knew we had some room to improve the car, it was a bit of a handful. We took a swing at it and (the car) was so good at the start of Race 2,” said Hinchcliffe.

But just when his Andretti Autosport team came across the radio to notify him of an upcoming pit stop, things instantly turned for the worst. The track began to dampen and going from pavement to concrete in turn eight on lap 13 sent Hinchcliffe into the tire barrier with fairly minimal contact. However, with Juan Pablo Montoya in the same tire barrier rookie Mikhail Aleshin, slid hard into Montoya which sent his car up in the air and right on the helmet of the young driver.

As the Holmatro safety crew struggled to remove the car from its awkward position Hinchcliffe fell several laps down in the process. Although Hinchcliffe was upset with the mistake, he clearly understood his fellow driver was in dire need of assistance to minimize any possible serious injuries. “But (the safety officials) were rightfully attending to Mikhail (Aleshin) who was potentially hurt, and as a result we went four laps down and there's no recovering from that. I'm really disappointed,” said Hinchcliffe of his eventual 18th finish.

A season ago, his second with Andretti Autosport (in the GoDaddy car) Hinchcliffe surpassed all expectations with three race victories (St Pete’s, Brazil and Iowa). Although Hinchcliffe improved by 91 points in the standings, he still placed eighth in the standings for a second year in a row.

Now 14 races into the season with the new United Fiber Data sponsor, Hinchcliffe has not only yet to find the winner’s circle, but he’s yet to even crack the podium. That’s no knock on Hinchcliffe by any means, simply a real long string of bad luck, including issues at Long Beach and Indy 500 that caught him at the wrong place at the wrong time, not a mention a concussion during the month of May

Interestingly enough the IndyStar has recently reported that Hinchcliffe has opted not to sign with Andretti Autosport by the August 1st deadline, which now leaves the Canadian possibly looking for another ride for the 2015 season, unless of course sponsorship can be secured in the near future.

After a season of huge promise Hinchcliffe now finds himself searching for quite possibly his next opportunity, whether that is back with Andretti or with another team.
If the sponsorship comes through he should remain with Andretti, but then again, anything is possible in the Verizon IndyCar series.


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