HINCHCLIFFE EARNS PODIUM IN 'HINCH TOWN,' TWO MORE FINISH IN TOP-TEN TORONTO, Ontario, Canada -- Local boy James Hinchcliffe finished third on Saturday at the Honda Indy Circuit in the Toronto 100, followed by teammates Wade Cunningham in...
HINCHCLIFFE EARNS PODIUM IN 'HINCH TOWN,' TWO MORE FINISH IN TOP-TEN
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada -- Local boy James Hinchcliffe finished third on Saturday at the Honda Indy Circuit in the Toronto 100, followed by teammates Wade Cunningham in seventh, Gustavo Yacaman in eighth, and Ana Beatriz in 13th for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
In a wild race, the grid started the event on wet weather tires on a track that was rapidly drying. Within just a few laps, the entire field needed to make pit stops, an anomaly in Firestone Indy Lights, to change to dry weather tires.
When pit stops were completed, Hinchcliffe and Beatriz were in third and fourth, with Cunningham and Yacaman in eighth and ninth.
From there, it was a fairly quiet race for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, other than one small, but costly mistake for Ana Beatriz. Heading into Turn 8 a few laps before halfway, Beatriz's rear brakes locked up in the braking zone, and rather than make a banzai attempt at making the corner and risk crashing the car, she utilized the escape road. She had to wait for safety workers to get her pointed in the right direction again, and in doing so, lost a lap in the process.
This enabled Cunningham and Yacaman to gain one position each, which they'd end up finishing in.
For Hinchcliffe, the third-place result, his fourth of 2009, bests his two previous Champ Car Atlantic efforts on his hometown circuit. Yacaman's eighth was just one position shy of his non-oval career best result.
From here, Sam Schmidt Motorsports has a weekend off before returning to Canada for the next round of the championship in Edmonton at the City Centre Airport Circuit.
No 7 HINCHTOWN.com/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Hinchcliffe
"Man, what a tough race. With the conditions changing like that and having to do live pit stops for the first time in my career in Firestone Indy Lights was a bit exciting. The car was really good. The SSM (Sam Schmidt Motorsports) guys gave us a great car all weekend. Qualifying on the front row and bringing it home on the podium was great. I think we lost a little time on the pit stop but we were running consistent race laps after that, so I've got to be happy with a hometown podium. I've got to thank all of my friends and family. It was a great weekend and like I said, it was tough in those changing positions but we had good Firestone Firehawks in the rain and good Firestone Firehawks in the dry, so it was a great weekend."
No 11 LUCAS OIL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Wade Cunningham
"It was a tough race and a very long day. Having to do the 50 laps without any yellow really tested the drivers physically. I think we maximized what we could out of our results given the circumstances we dealt with. We'll just take this finish and move on to Edmonton."
No 20 HEALTHY CHOICE/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Ana Beatriz
"We had such a good chance for a great result this weekend, and unfortunately, things didn't work out for the Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt team. We had a good car, and we were positioned well in fourth after the pit stops. Unfortunately, I had to go into the run-off road in Turn 8 because my rear brakes locked up, and there was nothing I could do. I just had to wait for the safety team to get me going again. It's a disappointment, but we'll move on. I'm looking forward to Edmonton, and I'm confident we'll get a good result there."
No 44 CREPES & WAFFLES/TUVACOL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Gustavo Yacaman
"I liked that we had to make a pit stop during the race. It was okay, but it could have been better. I'm not used to making pit stops or out laps. The rest of the race was okay. At the end, I had a very strong pace. I just need to get to that pace quicker."