Hinchcliffe Cards Two Top Fives at Indy "James Hinchcliffe performs well coming from the tail of the field" TORONTO, ON. (JUNE 21, 2004) Formula BMW scholarship winner James Hinchcliffe (Franczak Enterprises / AIM Autosport / ...
Hinchcliffe Cards Two Top Fives at Indy
"James Hinchcliffe performs well coming from the tail of the field"
TORONTO, ON. (JUNE 21, 2004) Formula BMW scholarship winner James Hinchcliffe (Franczak Enterprises / AIM Autosport / #56), impresses at this weekends Formula BMW USA (FBMW) event that was held in conjunction with the United States Grand Prix. Rounds 5 & 6 of the 14 race series were held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon during the prestigious Formula One weekend.
As the top Canadian pilot in the series, the 17-year-old again qualified in the top five for both events in Friday afternoon's qualifying session. "The top five or six guys were separated by a few tenths," stated Hinchcliffe on a phone interview from the circuit. "I think that some of the drivers may have got lucky by hitting the track at the right time. The air was perfect and with no traffic they were able to turn a few hot laps and qualify in the front." Hinchcliffe, who is noted as one of the top Canadians moving up the motorsports ladder, started Saturday's event from P4 while rounding out the top five for Sunday afternoon's race.
As the green flag fell at 2:30pm for Saturday's event, Hinchcliffe's row was slow to get on the throttle and he was forced to settle for the sixth position on the exit of corner one. Knowing that he had a great car under him the talented Canadian began to move forward and by lap three he was battling for the third position. "I got on the inside of Matt (Jaskol) and we went wheel to wheel through turn one and I was on the outside for the next corner," explained Hinchcliffe. "He forced me right off the track, gave me absolutely no racing room, I went off track and spinning through the grass. I thought my race was over but I came back on the track in 13th and the car felt just as good as it did before."
The Oakville, ON resident put his head down and was determined to move towards the front. With the fastest car on the track, Hinchcliffe began moving through the filed sometimes gaining several positions per lap. When the checkered flag flew, Hinchcliffe had managed to battle his way to the fourth position and a bitter-sweet race to say the least. "All we really needed to do this race was beat Andreas (Wirth) and try to close the points gap. What is so disappointing is we were clearly faster but were robbed of those valuable markers," Hinchcliffe said.
With Saturday's event behind him, Hinchcliffe was looking to turn his luck around and into a victory at the legendary race course. Starting round #6 from inside row three, the Canadian would have some work to do. With the grandstands still full from the Formula One race, the multi-time karting champion was on a tear from the beginning. Battling at the front of the field, the lead quartet was able to open a gap on the remainder of the field and due battle for the win. "The top four cars were having a great race. There was a lot of passing back and forth. On the last lap I was down in fourth but I knew when third tried a pass into corner 1, someone wasn't coming out, so I just held back and sure enough picked up third." Hinchcliffe came up short in the end but managed another podium and his second place position in the overall points standings. Hinchcliffe still leads the BMW Rookie Cup and with his third place finish, he was the highest placing Canadian finisher in the history of FBMW at the Brickyard.