July 8, 2012
Hinchcliffe's luck all bad
By DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - James Hinchcliffe was looking to have a little bit of hometown luck come his way Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto.
Unfortunately, the only luck he has seen since arriving at the Exhibition Place temporary street course has been bad.
Just 25 laps into Sunday's race, the engine in Hinchcliffe's No. 27 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet started to lose power and, one lap later, expired.
And this was a brand new motor put in the car after his original power plant developed problems following the first practice on Friday.
"We had bad luck in Detroit and we bounced back with two top-four finishes after that," Hinchcliffe said. "(The last race at) Iowa didn't go our way but that was my mistake.
"But here it has been bad luck from the word go."
The 25-year-old Oakville native said he had issues with the car's speed limiter, which regulates how fast the car
goes down pit lane, right from the outset.
"We started the race and right away we lost out pit lane speed limiter, which made the first pit stop tricky," Hinchcliffe said. "But the guys gave me a great stop and our race strategy was good."
That strategy was to make as many passes early in the race as possible to make up for a 10-spot grid penalty the team was assessed for changing the engine in the first place.
Hinchcliffe, in fact, had moved all the way up to the top five when Graham Rahal crashed to bring out a yellow flag on Lap 25. He thought his luck was finally starting to change because all the cars that had been in front of him for most of the race had to pit.
"We got some passes done early and then that yellow came out (for the Rahal crash) and it looked like some luck was going to come our way as we got up to fourth," he said.
Hinchcliffe said that just before that he began hearing some strange noises coming from his engine
"I started feeling it about five or six laps before the caution," he said. "We had a little bit of a hesitation coming out of Turn 6 and all of a sudden there was a loss of power going down the straightaway and once that caution came out and we were running around trying to catch up to the field, I felt the engine starting to go.
"I could hear it."
As Hinchcliffe waved to a cheering crowd that was giving him a standing ovation as he exited his car on pit lane, Hinchcliffe lamented the fact he was not able to put on a better show at home.
"It's a heartbreak to go out early here, he said. "It's the best city in the world and I love coming here to race."
Ever the competitor, however, Hinchcliffe vowed to make a comeback in Edmonton in two weeks.
"We will put it behind us," he said. "There is lots of racing still to go."