HINCHCLIFFE AND CUNNINGHAM EARN TOP-TENS FOR SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS IN EDMONTON EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada -- James Hinchcliffe led the way for Sam Schmidt Motorsports on Saturday at the Rexall Speedway in downtown Edmonton for the Firestone...
HINCHCLIFFE AND CUNNINGHAM EARN TOP-TENS FOR SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS IN EDMONTON
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada -- James Hinchcliffe led the way for Sam Schmidt Motorsports on Saturday at the Rexall Speedway in downtown Edmonton for the Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Edmonton. He was followed by Wade Cunningham in sixth, Ana Beatriz in 12th, and Gustavo Yacaman in 16th.
The race was a difficult one with sunny skies and high temperatures challenging the drivers. There were no breaks for the field as all 50 laps were run under green-flag conditions.
Hinchcliffe had a fairly quiet race starting from fourth spot. He lost a spot to Sebastian Saavedra on Lap 11, but Hinchcliffe would regain a spot when James Davison lost two positions on Lap 27. From there, Hinchcliffe turned in quick laps, including his personal best on Lap 40 of the race, but the leaders had already been too far out in front. The fourth place result gave Hinchcliffe his fifth top-five of the season and allowed him to move up one spot in the points standings to fifth.
Beatriz and Yacaman both were very quick during the race, and their results didn't reflect how well they performed. Yacaman, the youngest driver in the field, started 14th, but by the end of Lap 4, was in ninth spot. He would run as high as eighth before a failure sidelined him from the event on Lap 30. Beatriz, who started 10th, ran as high as sixth but had to make a pit stop on Lap 45 for a flat tire due to contact with former teammate James Davison on the lap prior. Still, Beatriz and Yacaman were quick and showed they had the capability of putting up a solid result on the demanding track.
Wade Cunningham took advantage of mistakes in front of him to earn sixth spot. Starting from 12th, he gained the most positions in the race. He benefitted from the issues of Yacaman and Beatriz, but he also raced and passed Mario Romancini and Andrew Prendeville. With his result, he earned his sixth top-ten and is now just three points behind Romancini for third in the championship.
From here, the series heads straight to the Kentucky Speedway for this Saturday's Kentucky 100.
#7 HINCHTOWN.com/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Hinchcliffe
"The race was a decent result but we certainly had hoped for a bit more. We should have started a bit higher up and ultimately that's what hurt our chances for the race. I slotted into 4th on Lap 1 and was stuck behind Davison who was really holding me up and letting the leaders get away. As he held me back, Sebastian started catching up. About five laps in, my engine started over heating so I was having to duck out of the draft on the straights to get some fresh air into the car, but one lap I did that and I picked up a bunch of rubbish on my tires and it made me lock up into Turn 10, which allowed Saavedra to get by. From there, we got by Davison but just struggled following other cars. It was very physical and I could see Saavedra getting tired because he kept making mistakes, even hitting the wall, but somehow he kept it on the track. It would have been nice to finish a bit higher, but it was still a good points day. We just need to keep pushing in this next stretch of races and try and make up some more ground.
#11 LUCAS OIL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Wade Cunningham
"Conditions were a bit difficult for everyone, and a lot of people were making some mistakes out there which allowed us to capitalize and improve our position on the track. Sixth isn't something I'm completely excited about, but it gives us solid points. We lost ground to AGR, but we gained on Romancini for third. We're heading to a track in Kentucky that I've done very well and look forward to gaining ground in the championship there."
#20 HEALTHY CHOICE/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Ana Beatriz
"This race was definitely a missed opportunity for us. The Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt car was really fast, and we were moving up through the field. We were running in the top-ten and battled Davison for sixth. We made contact, and I had to stop in the pits for a new tire since it was going flat. I'm disappointed with what happened, but there's nothing that can be done now. We just have to move on and look to get a good result in Kentucky."
#44 CREPES & WAFFLES/TUVACOL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Gustavo Yacaman
"I think we showed today that we were very competitive. I have to thank my team and crew for giving me a good car. We were making a lot of moves on the track, but unfortunately, we couldn't finish. I'm disappointed, but we'll just have to move on to the next event."