PLYMOUTH, Wis – James Hinchcliffe said on Friday that he was happy but frustrated to know that the speed is in his No. 5 Honda but the finishes haven’t been. This weekend, he capitalized on the speed until the end falling from fifth to finish seventh in Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.
See, Hinchcliffe was fifth after the final pit sequence. The problem was, the car behind him in Colton Herta was on the Firestone Reds. Hinchcliffe, was on the black primary tires.
Herta, would get by moving Hinchcliffe from fifth to six. But, the good news also is, Herta’s tires would fall off quicker. That allowed Hinchcliffe to make his move back by. On the last lap, he tried to get by, but went wide. As a result, Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist got by and forced Hinchliffe to a seventh place result.
It was another finish that he didn’t deserve.
“Kind of story of our year:,” said Hinchcliffe. “I don’t think the result was representative of the pace we had. We had a good start, got some guys, made up another spot or two during the first pit sequence. We were really just kind of running lap for lap with Josef (Newgarden) and Will (Power) there, maintaining the gap, looking after fuel and tires. On that last sequence, we decided to pit one lap early, and ultimately that let Colton (Herta) and Graham (Rahal) get ahead of us, which really just sort of compromised our race from there. When Colton’s tires went off, he made a mistake that ended up costing me two spots. Kind of bad luck, kind of wrong place wrong time, but the car was good and the Arrow guys were awesome in the pits. It’s a shame to leave here without the top five we deserved, but we’ll keep our heads down and keep pushing.”
Hinchcliffe, was fast from the drop of the green flag on Friday’s practice session. He was ninth, eighth and ninth respectively in all three practice sessions around the 4.014-mile Wisconsin road course. He backed that up with a ninth place starting spot for Sunday’s 55 Lap race.
That led him to staying up front all race and charging up to nearly getting a finish with his first top five in nearly a year (4th in Toronto last July).
It was also his fifth top 10 of the season though and 66th of his career in the series. He improves from 11th to ninth in the series standings as we head to Toronto, his home track in two weeks.
Despite the top five on Sunday, it’s something that he should have had before. See, costly mistakes and circumstances have taken top fives away from Hinchcliffe lately.
“We’ve had good runs the past two weeks, just haven’t gotten the results to show for it,” Hinchcliffe said on Friday. “Running for the win in Detroit, battling against the front runners, the top three in Texas, and unfortunately, just don’t have the finishes yet. The speed’s there, though. That’s the hard part. If we can just keep executing like that and keep putting fast race cars on the racetrack, we can be up front, and there’s no reason we can’t do that here this weekend.”
Hinchcliffe, finished 10th in this race last year. It’s also not like his teammates haven’t had good cars lately either.
Jack Harvey finished third in the INDYCAR Grand Prix in his No. 60 Honda. Marcus Ericsson was runner-up in the second race in Belle Isle and seventh a week later in Texas.
Hinchcliffe himself started 32nd for the Indy 500 but didn’t spend much time there. He charged up to a 11th place finish. He was ninth in the first Duel in Detroit and the only reason he was 18th in the second race was because he was involved in an incident while trying to hold off Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi after coming out of pit road. He was in the lead at that point and was in the drivers seat, pun intended, to win that day.
In Texas, he had a top three car but crashed out towards the end..