HINCHCLIFFE QUALIFIES POLE AND RUNS STRONG IN FIRST OVAL EVENT Scores a 4th place result to improve championship points chase. Oakville, Ontario -- July 5, 2005. -- With the car to beat all weekend, 18-year-old James Hinchcliffe put his ...
HINCHCLIFFE QUALIFIES POLE AND RUNS STRONG IN FIRST OVAL EVENT
Scores a 4th place result to improve championship points chase.
Oakville, Ontario -- July 5, 2005. -- With the car to beat all weekend, 18-year-old James Hinchcliffe put his EMEXIS.Racing sponsored Pro Mazda on the pole for the start of his first career oval event at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Pikes Peak, CO. Hinchcliffe looked very comfortable throughout the weekend and was a favorite for victory at the only oval stop of the series.
After a stellar performance in qualifying, Hinchcliffe was looking to get it done in the race. "Qualifying was fantastic," said Hinchcliffe, "my guys Yancy and Steve just gave me an awesome car which made it easy for me, and they really deserve a lot of credit." Hinchcliffe set out determined and dominated the first sixty laps. Hinchcliffe managed to get excellent restarts at the end of every caution and his AIM Autosport prepped ride looked to be on rails throughout the first half of the event.
"There were so many cautions" explained James. "I really concentrated on my restarts and was doing a very good job. I seemed to pull away four or five car lengths which gave me some breathing room. The gap remained that way through most of the green flag runs and I was very confident of our chances for victory."
On the final restart, the Oakville, Ontario resident got another great jump but as he entered the first corner, the front of the car washed out from under him sending him up the race track. Hinchcliffe struggled to regain control and did so but not until a fellow competitor snuck by for the lead. For the remainder of the event, Hinchcliffe could not keep his ride on the bottom of the track and had to get off the gas which killed his straight line momentum and put him at risk to be over taken.
At the end of the 75 lap event, Hinchcliffe found himself one position away from his first podium result of '05. "It is a bit disappointing" stated a dejected Hinchcliffe after the event. "We had the car to beat all weekend long and led a majority of the race but couldn't lead the laps that are the most important. What we cant figure out is why the car went away so suddenly when usually it is a gradual thing. Very bizarre. Realistically it was a great result for our first oval and after a lot of bad luck this season things are beginning to turn around. I am getting ready and looking forward to Sonoma's event in two weeks time."
With his 4th place result at Pikes Peak, Hinchcliffe moves into 4th in the overall series championship and remains in 3rd in Rookie-of-the-Year honors. The talented Canadian has closed the gap to the championship point leader and looks to make a real threat for the series title as the season begins to wind down.
Hinchcliffe's next on track activity will be this week as he heads to Sonoma, CA for some testing. Racing action will continue in two weeks time at the very same track.