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Hinchcliffe Gets Around to Winning At An Oval

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 23 2013

James Hinchcliffe won his first oval IndyCar Series race on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the IZOD IndyCar Series)

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James Hinchcliffe, who led 33 total laps on ovals in his previous two seasons in the series, led all but 24 to dominate the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway. The victory was the Andretti Autosport driver’s first on an oval.

The Canadian driver became the only three-time winner this season and is the seventh different winner through 10 races. He beat Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay across the finish line by 1.509 seconds.

Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, who had finished first, second and third the previous three outings at Iowa, placed third. Ed Carpenter finished fourth and Graham Rahal earned his second top-five finish of the season.

“We just had to go off of experience and this all goes to the team,” said Hinchcliffe, who started second following qualifying that consisted of three 50-lap heat races and grid spot penalties because of unapproved engine changes that impacted six drivers. “We have a great track record here but this year with so many different things and a day race, everything was different.

“We were trying to manage a gap on the guys behind us, trying to take care of the tires. At the end of the day the car was solid. Guys on the stand called it perfectly, and I can’t thank them enough. I can’t believe I led (almost) the whole thing.”

Hinchcliffe advanced five positions in the championship standings and is 66 points behind front-runner Helio Castroneves heading into the second half of the season that starts with the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on July 7 at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway. A week later, the “Mayor of Hinchtown” will be the “Mayor of Toronto” during the Honda Indy Toronto race weekend.

“We still have nine to go, and there’s still a lot to play for,” Hinchcliffe said. “We are not going to be in a position to win every race, but I think that we have found our way into finishing where we have to on the day you’ve got a ninth-place car, finish ninth. It’s a lot better than wrecking and going for eight. And a lot better for points.”

Castroneves’ nine points earned for claiming the Verizon P1 Award in the third heat race is the margin over Hunter-Reay, who used the points from the victory at Iowa last year in his march to the series title. Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car, finished eighth. Marco Andretti, who finished ninth in the No. 25 RC Cola car, is third (-55 points).

“We drove as hard as we could today,” said Castroneves, who recorded his sixth consecutive top 10. “When they told me I came in eighth, I was like ‘What?’ I certainly felt we had a better car than that. I guess in traffic we got held up coming in and out of the pits, which cost us some positions. The Hitachi car really came alive with about 50 laps to go and it felt great. Maybe it was a little too late for us. But we still have the points lead and we will look for a better result in Pocono.”

Results Sunday of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 0.894 mile Iowa Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (2) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running

2. (12) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running

3. (5) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running

4. (4) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running

5. (6) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 250, Running

6. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 250, Running

7. (7) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running

8. (11) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running

9. (3) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running

10. (16) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running

11. (10) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 249, Running

12. (14) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 249, Running

13. (13) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 248, Running

14. (19) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 248, Running

15. (22) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 248, Running

16. (15) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 247, Running

17. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 247, Running

18. (24) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 247, Running

19. (18) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 247, Running

20. (21) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 246, Running

21. (20) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 243, Running

22. (23) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 183, Mechanical

23. (17) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 162, Mechanical

24. (9) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 139, Contact

Race Statistics

Winners average speed: 148.559

Time of Race: 01:30:16.0266

Margin of victory: 1.5009

Cautions: 3 for 29 laps

Lead changes: 7 among 4 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Hinchcliffe 1 – 118

Wilson 119 – 120

Hinchcliffe 121 – 159

Rahal 160

Hinchcliffe 161 – 195

Carpenter 196 – 213

Wilson 214 – 16

Hinchcliffe 217 – 250

Point Standings: Castroneves 332, Hunter-Reay 323, Andretti 277, Hinchcliffe 266, Kanaan 253. Pagenaud 241, Dixon 240, Sato 233, Wilson 227, Power 209

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 23 2013
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