|Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe of Canada races his car during the Edmonton Indy race on Sunday. (Todd Korol/REUTERS)
EDMONTON - James Hinchcliffe was hoping a stop in Edmonton would help turn his recent fortunes around.
Unfortunately, the mayor of Hinchtown will have to move on to the next city to try and get back on track.
On Sunday, Hinchcliffe finished 12th at the Edmonton Indy, increasing the gap between he and the IZOD IndyCar Series leaders.
“It’s not the race that we wanted, it’s not a position that we’re not used to finishing, and it’s not where we wanted to finish,” said the Andretti Autosport driver. “I didn’t drive very well in that first stint, I made a bad start and then made a mistake trying to pass (Simon) Pagenaud and lost a couple of spots and a couple of seconds. We’ve been trying to work on the car a little bit and from battling over-steer all weekend long, we went to a pretty under-steering car.
“It's one of those things it’s pretty tough to predict the track conditions, especially with all the series running. At the end of the day, I’m a little bit disappointed, but we brought it home, we kept fighting and picked up position near the end getting by Pagenaud with a couple of laps left to go.”
Prior to the series heading to Iowa, then coming up to Canada two weeks ago, Hinchcliffe was within distance of the points leaders, needed a couple of strong races to put him in title contention. He had seven top-six finishes on the year that included a pair of podium results.
In Iowa, however, Hinchcliffe crashed out of the race. He then suffered mechanical problems in his hometown event in Toronto.
“Certainly when you have good momentum going at one point, you hate getting derailed,” Hinchcliffe said. “I had a couple of DNFs that were no fault of ours, then I had one that was my fault in Iowa. So this is our worst run of finishes we’ve had all year. That’s a tough thing to deal with. But at the end of the day, when it’s so competitive, you only have to miss the setup by one tiny bit to fall back. We were only a couple of seconds behind (Scott) Dixon and (Justin) Wilson.”
On Sunday, Hinchcliffe, one of two Canadian drivers in the race, started in ninth position. He went on to fall a couple of spots early then got into an epic battle with Pagenaud for 10th place. The two swapped positions a couple of times before Hinchcliffe swung out wide coming around Turn 13 and allowed three cars to get past him.
“I just locked out the brakes heading into 13 and Pagenaud could get by and I think (Sebastien) Bourdais and (Will) Power went through as well. It’s one of those things, you have to try. You have to make the move and it’s better to do it at the beginning of the race than at the end.”
Stuck in the middle of the pack for the remainder of the event, Hinchcliffe was unable to make up any ground and take a run at the lead pack.
He did manage to eventually win his battle with Pagenaud, getting around him with only few laps left in the race.
“We’re still fighting and that’s what this team does, and hopefully we can bounce back and have a good result in a couple of weeks,” Hinchcliffe said. “It’s a function of pushing to the end here and trying to grab every last point. It was just not our day today.”
Not having any cautions in the race was detrimental to Hinchcliffe’s chances of moving up in the pack. Only two of the 25 cars were unable to finish the race, both going out with mechanical issues.
“I think that hurts the show a bit,” said Hinchcliffe. “It was a two pit-stop race, but it was marginal. We were saving fuel a lot of that race, which is not fun for us and it’s not fun for the fans either. A yellow would have mixed it up and made the fuel window a bit bigger and let the guys push a little bit harder.”