SÃO PAULO, Brazil – In a very dramatic and exciting finish, Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe, behind the wheel of his No. 27 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet powered entry, won the 2013 Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 on the Streets of SãoPaulo, Brazil with a thrilling last lap, final turn pass.
Still second as the pair took the while flag, Hinchcliffe waited for the perfect opportunity to make the pass, and score the win.
"There's no cooler way to win a race than the last corner of the last lap,” said Hinchcliffe from Victory Lane. “Great job that Takuma (Sato) did to be up there, and man, he was making his car really wide. We both had one push-to-pass left coming to that last corner.
He'd been defending the inside pretty well - almost too well a couple of times. He just out-broke himself a little bit. I know he was going to go deep, and we did the high-low and got the win. Awesome job for GoDaddy, Andretti (Autosport) and everybody."
It was Hinchcliffe’s second win the 2013 IndyCar season, and second of his IndyCar career. His first win came at the season opener at St. Petersburg.
The win moved him to fourth in the standings as the series heads to Indianapolis for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Hinchcliffe was joined on the podium by his teammate Marco Andretti who brought the No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet to a strong third place finish. Andretti moved to second in the standings, just 13 points shy of the lead. Sato finished second, and assumed the points lead.
"What a spectacular pass on the final corner for the win today for James Hinchcliffe at São Paulo!" said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing IZOD IndyCar Series Program Manager.
"James and his Chevrolet-powered Go-Daddy Andretti Autosport team did a stellar job managing the tires, fuel and overtake to enable that last lap surge and skilled over-under pass on the final turn to take the checker.
Congratulations also to Marco Andretti on his third place podium finish showing great consistency and a new focus this season. This result will provide great momentum for Team Chevy and our technical partners as we head into the Indy 500 phase of the season and focus on winning that most precious crown."
Oriol Servia was a strong contender during the second half of the 75-lap, 190.2-mile race to bring home a fourth place finish behind the wheel of the No. 22 Valspar Panther Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Chevrolet to give Team Chevy three of the top-five finishers. Josef Newgarden was the fifth-place finisher.
In total, Chevrolet drivers claimed half of the top-10 finishing positions. E.J. Viso, No. 5 Team Venezuela Andretti Autosport HVM Chevrolet was sixth at the checkered flag, and Simona de Silvestro, No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KvVRacing Technology Chevrolet, finished in eighth place.
Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, led twice for a total of 16 laps, but a late-race flat tire relegated him to the 11th finishing position.
São Paulo native Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, who held the lead in the point standings coming into today’s race, rallied from on-track altercations and multiple trips down pit lane to finish 13th. Castroneves now sits third in the standings, 20 points down from leader Sato.
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 7 McAfee Dragon Racing Chevrolet, finished 14th, and JR Hildebrand brought the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet scored the 15th place finish.
Local favorite, Brazilian Tony Kanaan, No.11 Itaipava KV Racing Technology SH Racing Chevrolet, thrilled the crowd by leading twice for a total of 12 laps racing with an injured hand from an accident at Long Beach. A late-race multi-car tangle relegated Kanaan to the 21st finishing position.
Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, winner of the three previous São Paulo races, who started 22nd after a disappointing qualifying effort, was working his way through the field to knock on the door of the top-10, when a mechanical issue sidelined him on the 18th lap of the race. He was scored with the 24th finishing position.
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER: ON THE TURN 11 PASS, LAST TURN PASS TO WIN ON A STREET COURSE: "There's no cooler way to win a race than the last corner of the last lap. Heluva job that Takuma (Sato) did to be up there, and man, he was making his car really wide. We both had one push-to-pass left coming to that last corner. He'd been defending the inside pretty well - almost too well a couple of times. He just out-broke himself a little bit. I know he was going to go deep, and we did the high-low and got the win. Awesome job for GoDaddy, Andretti (Autosport) and everybody."
WERE YOU SURPRISED AS TO HOW GOOD THE CAR WAS? "I wasn't thrilled after warm-up. I like I said, I was P21 in warm-up in St. Pete, and we didn't read a lot into it. We through a bunch of changes in the car, and I made a mistake in the first pit stop that put us back out of sequence and we had to come back for a bit more fuel under one of those cautions there. It was of those things that came together. The guys were awesome in the pits and the race strategy at the end of the day. The GoDaddy car had it in it."
WHAT WAS THE RACING LIKE IN THE FINAL MINUTES? "I had to work for it. That last restart I lost a position to (Simon) Pagenaud and to Josef Newgarden and we'd fallen back. But I knew once the tires came up, we were a little bit quicker, and as soon as I cleared Pagenaud, I tracked down those guys (Sato and Newgarden), thank goodness they were racing or I never would have caught them. I managed to get Newgarden when he was battling, and got Sato there at the end. It is awesome to get this second win of the season for Andretti Autosport and GoDaddy. My family is all at home, watching it, I know that, so hi to you guys. One was good, but two is better!"
MICHAEL ANDRETTI, TEAM OWNER, ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT: ON THE FINISH OF TODAY’S RACE: That’s IndyCar racing. That’s what it’s about. It seems that so many of these races go down the last turn of the last lap. That’s what makes this such a great sport. I’m glad we came out on the good end of the stick for sure. It’s awesome to have two cars on the podium. Ryan was on pole but unfortunately had bad luck with a flat tire, which if not for that, I think he would have been on the podium as well. All-in-all it really was a great weekend for the whole Andretti Autosport group. (Strategy for James heading to the end): Finish ahead of the cars in front of you (laughter). That was basically it, and that’s what he did.
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD: ON THE RACE: "It was a lot of fun. It was dicey at some points, but really it was just about conserving the push to passes for when it counted. At the end there, I was kind of using them when people weren't expecting me to use it so I could kind of snooker them. Looking from practice one, I am quite pleased with where we ended up today. Congratulations to the Go Daddy crew. The R C (Cola) car is looking good in points."
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 VALSPAR PANTHER DREYER AND REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH: FANTASTIC RUN FOR YOU: “Yeah, it was a great car. The last two races I had a great car in qualifying. The way the wrecks in qualifying have gone, we have started at the back, but we have gone through the field twice today and finished fourth. I really thought we had a podium; really we had a car to win. It’s just I don’t know what is going to happen in the future. We just announced that the team is out of money after Indy so we are hoping we can put it together. We work so hard to have the car and the team we have. We are contenders. We just need to find a little more money to continue, but I’m very happy today. We are working well we are doing our jobs right and something is going to happen.”
WE DON’T ALWAYS SEE THE DRIVER’S COME OUT SO SWEATY YOU GUYS WERE WORKING OUT THERE: “Oh yeah especially when at the end you have us altogether in that long straight at the back. It’s amazing; it’s very exciting for the fans and very exciting for us because it was on the last lap. Anything still can happen and you know that is on the line and you are pushing hard. The tires slide a lot because we take all the downforce for this race track out. You really have to drive the car and it was a lot of fun.”
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT HVM CHEVROLET, FINISHED 6TH: ON THE RACE: “Finishing sixth is not really what we expected. It was a race full of surprises, and unfortunately that last stop was not for us. Luck was not on our side; we pitted right before the yellow came out and it didn’t play in our favor. Going from ninth after that to come to sixth after passing some cars, we knew we had the pace, and we are here to win races. I’m very happy for James’ second win and Marco’s podium. It’s something that only gives us confidence as a team to keep working hard for the next races.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 8TH: ON THE RACE: “I think it was a really good race. We had to save fuel on the strategy we ran and with the yellows we got stuck behind slower traffic. The last stint we could go hard and we passed a lot of cars. That was a lot of fun. I wish the whole race would have been like that. I think it was good, but I think it would have been better if we had come in and got some more fuel to run harder. The car was on rails on blacks and on reds, so that was a lot of fun. It was a pretty good ending even though I think we had a chance to finish a little higher. I’m happy with my second straight top-ten finish.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 11TH: ON THE RACE: “Extremely disappointing today. Absolutely had the car to win. Guys gave me a great, great car…the pit stops were awesome. Definitely needed to capitalize on this opportunity, but we got a flat tire about halfway through the race which pretty much sidelined us. We pit super early on the last stop, had to save fuel the remainder of the race. I was lifting halfway down the straightaway so… we were wounded and stayed that way. Happy for the teammates – James on the win and Marco on the third.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 13TH: ON THE RACE: “The Hitachi car was pretty good all day and for most of the race we were getting the breaks we needed with the caution flags to move up the field. Unfortunately things got a little anxious on the restart and we got some damage to the front wing and rear tire. Even then, I thought we could make a move but it was tough to talk strategy with the lack of radio communication in many places. But we are happy to still be in the top three in points and hopefully we can now turn to page to what should be a great Indy 500”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 14TH: ON THE RACE: “Overall it was a black and white day. There were some very good things and some very, very bad things. We made a mistake at the start, just touched James (Hinchcliffe) and unfortunately it was just enough to separate the end plate from the main plane. The wing just went like a parachute. So I made it to the fuel window that we could make it on three stops pretty easily, but it was just one of these things where everything went downhill pretty fast. We thought it was going to be a really good day after we cycled to the front. But my guys and the Sarah Fisher Hartman guys looked very much alike in black firesuits, and I didn’t get anything on the radio saying they were laying out at the same time. I just got ready to pull in their box, and we were in the next box, so I came around but couldn’t get back in. So we basically lost like six positions. Then there was another pile up that we ended up being a part of because we weren’t where we were supposed to be. We had to put the old wing back on, which was broken. We were just going to try to make the best out of it and we had a very fast car. It’s very frustrating for the guys at Dragon, but that’s the way it is. We did the best we could with the circumstances.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, 11TH FINISHED 15TH: ON THE RACE: “The definite good thing was that the National Guard Chevy was really good. We were really good in the tight sections of the track, and we tried hard to make for a neutral car, because we thought we’d be saving fuel. And it was working well for a while, and I was able to make up a lot of time in the infield sections where you’re not saving fuel anyway, which allowed me to save a lot on the straights. Then the teamlost telemetry, and when we lost it, we didn’t have a clear understanding of where we were on fuel, so we ended up pitting at an inopportune time, and ended up behind everybody and still had to make as many stops as everybody in front of us. It was frustrating because we were going fast enough up front to hang with anybody. But, despite that, the last two weekends I don’t think we’ve made a change to the car that hasn’t made us better, so we’re looking forward to Detroit and Toronto later in the year, which is something I haven’t said in years past. But now it’s time for Indianapolis – and that’s our wheelhouse. Next week is as important as the first week on the racetrack to get prepared, so we’ll be smart about that like we have in the past and we’ll be hauling ass when we get there.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 19TH: ON HIS RACE: “It’s a very tough, to be honest. Starting in the back we made progress going towards the front, but in the end unfortunately, the fuel numbers didn’t match up and we ended up doing another stop which destroyed us. So we’ll learn from here and now we’re on our way to Indy. It’s been a tough start of a season, but we have the speed and we have the potential. We just need to put things together.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 23RD: ON HIS RACE: “We were running some very competitive laps in the middle of race and, but on a restart, I got pushed into the outside wall in turn one. I thought I was going to make through the incident okay. But then someone slid into me and I nipped the wall. At the end, we were playing the fuel strategy pretty well but I clipped the wall with the left rear. It bent the toe link, so we pitted for a few laps. It was a good exercise for the crew but it cost us some positions. Overall, the results don’t show how well the Fuzzy’s car worked today. But we have to get back home now and get ready for the 500. Everyone on the team is excited about going to IMS including me. I think we are well prepared for the 500 this year.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, RETIRED FROM COMPETITION ON LAP 18 WITH MECHANICAL ISSUES FINISHED 24TH: ON WHAT HAPPENED: "Obviously burned something with the gear shift, because it stopped shifting because I looking for the manual shift. Yes, it was a fire, but we don't know happened.