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Hinchcliffe Gets First IndyCar Victory Of Career

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 24 2013

James Hinchcliffe is an IndyCar winner. (INDYCAR/LAT USA file photo)

James Hinchcliffe opened the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season with a victory at the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg. The victory was the first of his career and it came in his 32nd start.

“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, and I never thought that was going to happen when I won my first race,” the Andretti Autosport driver said.

“But that was a hard battle in fighting off those Penske cars because they were strong and to get the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet to victory lane and the first win in IndyCar is just so special. Everybody at Go Daddy is so incredible and everybody did such a good job. I am exhausted, but just elated at the same time.”

One of the Team Penske cars which Hinchcliffe mentioned belonged to Helio Castroneves, who finished second.

Finishing third was Hinchcliffe’s teammate, Marco Andretti.

“What a great weekend,” team owner Michael Andretti said. “James just did a hell of a job all weekend and Marco had a great race there and I feel bad for Ryan (Hunter-Reay) because he had tough luck with a sticking throttle and EJ (Viso) did a great job of coming back up through there so yes, aside from Ryan it was a great day.”

The 26-year-old Hinchcliffe overtook Castroneves in Turn 1 of a Lap 85 restart, conserved fuel in the No. 27 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport and held on for a 1.0982-second victory.

He’s the first Canadian to win an Indy car race since Paul Tracy in 2007 at Cleveland and gave Michael Andretti his 44th Indy car victory (two more than he had as a driver).

Andretti overtook Simona de Silvestro in Turn 1 of the final lap to earn third place (his best road/street course finish since Toronto in 2011).

De Silvestro finished sixth.

“It’s been a good weekend for us,” she said. “Unfortunately we lost a few positions at the end there. We kind of ran out of tires at the end. I think we can be pretty happy with sixth. Now we know what we have to work on for the next race. It was really cool to be up front all day with Will, Hinch and everybody; it was awesome. I think we can learn a lot from this weekend to have a better result at the next race.”

Will Power, who earned his 30th Indy car pole, led 26 laps before Castroneves made an inside move on a restart and it went downhill from there. Under caution, the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car driven by JR Hildebrand sprung over the right side of Power’s No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, causing a flat rear tire and bent mirror. The team spent two pit stops to repair and check for damage. Then, while running 12th, the rear end of Power’s car caught the Turn 4 tire barrier. He finished 16th.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, who started and finished third at St. Pete last March on his journey to the series title, encountered issues on an early pit stop and was not in contention.

(This story will be updated shortly)

Results Sunday of the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.8-mile St Petersburg Street Circuit, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (4) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevrolet, 110, Running

2. (5) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevrolet, 110, Running

3. (7) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevrolet, 110, Running

4. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevrolet, 110, Running

5. (20) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

6. (3) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Chevrolet, 110, Running

7. (22) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevrolet, 110, Running

8. (2) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

9. (13) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

10. (17) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

11. (21) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevrolet, 110, Running

12. (14) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

13. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

14. (23) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 110, Running

15. (18) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 110, Running

16. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Chevrolet, 107, Running

17. (12) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevrolet, 104, Running

18. (8) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevrolet, 79, Mechanical

19. (24) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevrolet, 78, Contact

20. (9) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevrolet, 72, Contact

21. (6) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 69, Mechanical

22. (25) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 55, Mechanical

23. (16) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 50, Mechanical

24. (19) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 26, Mechanical

25. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 18, Contact

Race Statistics

Winners average speed: 83.539

Time of Race: 02:22:12.5502

Margin of victory: 1.0982

Cautions: 4 for 29 laps

Lead changes: 4 among 4 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Power 1 – 26

Castroneves 27 – 45

Servia 46 – 61

Castroneves 62 – 84

Hinchcliffe 85 – 110

Point Standings: Hinchcliffe 51, Castroneves 43, Andretti 35, Kanaan 32, Dixon 30, de Silvestro 28, Viso 26, Sato, 24, Wilson 22, Tagliani 20

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 24 2013
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