Hinchcliffe has perfect weekend at Laguna Seca

James Hinchcliffe almost missed what he called "our perfect weekend". He admitted, "I was too cautious at the standing start and Carl (Skerlong) took the lead". Not to worry, because drivers Dane Cameron (#19 Genoa Racing) and Greg Mansell (#5 Walker Racing) got tangled up fairly quickly, and there came that dreaded full course caution. On the restart after the caution, Hinchcliffe took command of the race and never looked back. Other than the first laps, it was a dominating performance.

Post-race press conference: Carl Skerlong, James Hinchcliffe and Junior Strous.
Photo by Jeff Davidson.

The same cannot be said for third place starter and fellow Canadian driver. Kevin Lacroix had a fairly uneventful race, staying out of trouble until the last five minutes. Then he was passed by Dutchman Junior Strous (#6 Condor Motorsports) who capitalized on a few mistakes. It looked as though Lacroix was going to coast to a 4th place finish when he appeared to run out of gas just yards from the finish line. There were no apparent tantrums on the driver's part, but it had to be disheartening to go from a possible podium, to a likely 4th to a 15th place finish. That's racing.

The two drivers who did join Hinchcliffe on the podium were Carl Skerlong (#14 Pacific Motorsports King Taco) in second place and Junior Strous (#6 Condor Motorsports). Skerlong said that, "it's very hard to pass at this track", proving he has a firm grasp on the obvious. He did seem to be pleased with his finish as he repeated his placement in the season opener at Long Beach.

Strous noted that he had "led every session that didn't count", a reference to being first in practice sessions but failing to translate those results into a pole position. He add that he "raced on Vicodin" last year due to a painful wrist injury and is very glad to be back in the series and running up front.

Other notable drives today include Long Beach winner Simona De Silvestro (#34 Newman Wachs Racing), who finished 10th, and will leave the track second place in points. Her teammate Jonathan Summerton (No. 36), who is tied with her in points, finished sixth. Strous' teammate Dominick Muermans (#9 Condor Motorsports) finished fifth.

The crowd was very small and a good percentage of it was there to see local racer Jonathan Bomarito (#26 Mathiasen Motorsports) who did not have a great day. His car was leaking fluids and he finished next to last in 19th.

It's too bad the crowd was so small on Sunday. After sweltering for days, the weather was lovely and it's not every day that the Mayor of "Hinchtown" wins a race. The next Atlantic Championship series race will be at Mont-Tremblant on June 29th.