Heartbreaker at Glen racetrack

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:50 PM ET

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Second place sucks. Just ask James Hinchcliffe who looked to be well on his way to winning for the second time in the 2010 Indy Lights series season at Watkins Glen International when a fraction of a second of hesitation cost him the lead and the win in the Corning 100 on Sunday.

Hinchcliffe had started from the pole in the No. 2 Team Moore Racing Dallara and was in complete control of the race with just 11 laps left when Frenchman J.K. Vernay pulled off a power pass going into the Glen’s famous Bust Stop turn.

“It sucks to lose but it hurts even more to know that, but for one mistake, we should have won,” he said.

Hinchcliffe blamed the kitty litter that track workers used in Turn 1 to soak up oil from Mike Wilson’s blown engine for the slip that allowed Vernay to make his daring pass.

“There was a ton of dust and quick dry on the braking line for Turn 1, and on the initial restart I made sure I got through safe, but we have strict no blocking rules in Lights and I didn’t want to do anything questionable,” he said. “So for the second lap I tried to go closer to the traditional racing line and I got a little bit on that kitty litter and it completely pitched the car sideways; destroyed my momentum up the hill and that’s what gave J.K. the run on me.”

To add insult to injury Hinchcliffe lost ground to Vernay in the championship points as well as a result of his second place finish.

“I don’t care about being second, or falling further behind in the championship,” he said.

“It’s heartbreaking because it’s not often you get a chance to have a race weekend where the car is so good every time we were on the track, so for us to walk away with anything less than a win is certainly a tough pill to swallow.”

Hinchcliffe can take some solace that it was his fifth consecutive top-five finish in the Indy Lights and it give him some momentum going into his home race at the Honda Indy Toronto in two weeks.

“Well, one thing is for certain and that is this (result) is going to provide me with plenty of motivation going into Toronto,” he said.

Sebastian Saavadra of Colombia finishes third in the No. 29 Bryan Herta Autosport Dallara.

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca


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