Indy 500: Hinch hits hitch

Andretti Autosports driver James Hinchcliffe can manage only a 14th-place spot on the speed pole...

Andretti Autosports driver James Hinchcliffe can manage only a 14th-place spot on the speed pole yesterday during final practice for Sunday's Indianapolis 500. (Reuters)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:59 PM ET

TORONTO - The boundless optimism that defines the character of James Hinchcliffe took a big hit Friday morning on Carbeuration Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In exactly one hour, all the work that had gone in to making the Oakville native one of the favourites to win Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 evaporated when his No. 27 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet appeared incapable of turning competitively fast laps around the 2.5-mile IMS oval.

Hinchcliffe could only manage a 14th-place spot on the speed pole, delivering a fast lap of 224.073 m.p.h., nearly two miles an hour slower than Simon Pagenaud in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports Honda, who turned in the fastest lap of 225.827 m.p.h.

And he was the slowest of his three Andretti teammates — E.J. Viso was second fastest of 33 cars; Ryan Hunter-Reay third; and Marco Andretti ninth.

Worse is that Hinchcliffe and his team don’t appear to have an answer for the car’s woes.


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