FORT WORTH, TX – James Hinchcliffe has had a seesaw type of season. Heading into Indianapolis, the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver had three top 10 finishes in the first four races of the NTT IndyCar Series season. But, in the four races since, he has just one top 10.
It’s not like it wasn’t for a lack of effort though either.
See, the first four races saw him catch bad luck in qualifying. Twice, he was caught out on a hot lap by a red flag. In the two races that he qualified his best, he had his best finishes of the season.
James Hinchcliffe practicing his No. 5 Honda for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports on Thursday night at the Texas Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Media Site
Then, the last four races have been even more bad luck. For the INDYCAR Grand Prix, he just didn’t have the best speed and qualified a then season worst 18th. For the Indy 500, he crashed in qualifying which relegated him to the Last Row Shootout. He’d start 32nd despite having a quicker car than that. It showed when he improved 21 spots to finish 11th in his No. 5 Honda.
On the first doubleheader race last weekend in Belle Isle, he qualified 10th and finished ninth. In the second race, he started fifth and was honestly in contention to win the thing before being collected in a Lap 32 crash with Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi when the Canadian came out of the pits with the lead among his group and tried hard to defend it. Unfortunately, it ended in the tire barriers.
Now, it’s onto Texas, a place that has been kind to Hinchcliffe lately. He has two top four finishes in his last three starts including a runner-up after leading 188 laps in 2016 and a fourth place run last year.
After Thursday’s rain abbreviated session, Hinchcliffe feels his No. 5 Honda is further along this year compared to last. That’s potentially a good sign of things to come for the rest of the weekend.
“It’s unfortunate that the rain came and shortened the session, but I’m certainly happy that we got a few runs in,” said Hinchcliffe on Thursday night. “The No. 5 Arrow car feels better off the truck than we were at this point last year, so it’s a reason to be optimistic. We were dealing with truck rubber (from series on track previously) that session, so it’s not 100 percent indicative of what we’ll be racing on, but it’s a good start.”
He qualified well on Friday night (8th), so watch out for Hinchcliffe on Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 (8 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network). Qualifying well has bode well for results in 2019 for Hinchcliffe.