INDIANAPOLIS - It is show time for rookie James Hinchcliffe.
The 24-year-old from Oakville, is being touted as the most talented young driver to come out of Canada since Paul Tracy shook up the world of open wheel racing back in 1992.
Hinchcliffe said he is excited about his first start at the Brickyard but not really nervous, yet.
“I feel really good, actually,” he said on Saturday as he signed autographs at the track. “It is obviously going to be the longest race I’ve ever run.”
Hinchcliffe said he thinks he has the mental part of his preparation down and he’s ready to do what it takes to be competitive on Sunday.
“There’s a lot of mental preparation that goes into racing that long,” he said. “But I don’t think we are going to have any issue physically.
“The heat is going to be a big thing. So hydrating is going to be super important.”
Hinchcliffe said he has tried not to dwell on how big a deal racing in the Indy 500 is.
“I am going to try to approach it as just another race,” he said. “But at the end of the day I know that it is not.”
He said he is going to divide the race into two parts.
“I expect that the first half of the race is going to be a learning experience,” Hinchcliffe said. “I have a lot to learn about how the traffic goes; how the pit stops are going to work.
What he won’t do is take too many chances early in the race.
“We plan to be a bit conservative,” he said. “Hopefully we will be in good shape after the first 100 laps and then be able to apply what we have learned to go for the win. Wouldn’t that be a big deal.”
It would indeed.