LEXINGTON, OH – Everything has been looking up for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports lately. They have produced some very fast race cars and with how they’ve been going, it looks like a trip to victory lane could very soon be on the horizon.
Marcus Ericsson is improving by the race and looks like he’s getting more and more comfortable in an Indy Car. His teammate James Hinchcliffe has three straight top seven finishes on the season including a third place effort last weekend at the Iowa Speedway. Furthermore, if not for some bad luck or small mistakes, Hinchcliffe could very well be heading to this weekend’s NTT IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with seven straight top 10’s.
James Hinchcliffe in practice this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – INDYCAR Media Site
See, it all started in qualifying for the Indy 500. Hinchcliffe, unfortunately crashed on his run and was a Last Row Shootout qualifier. While he started on the last row, he had enough speed to drive all the way up to an 11th place result.
The next weekend in Belle Isle, Hinchcliffe finished ninth in Race No. 1 and 18th in the second day of a doubleheader. But, that 18th place run doesn’t tell the whole story. Hinchcliffe, had the speed to finish on the podium. If not for a crash while battling Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi while coming out of the pits and trying to hold them off for what would have been the lead near the mid race mark, he was destined to at the very worst a third place run. The next week at Texas, he had a top five car all night before crashing out in the end. From there, he’s finished seventh, sixth and third respectively.
Mix that with Robert Wickens getting a podium at Mid-Ohio last year and Hinchcliffe scoring a fifth place run in 2016, the morale is high at SPM.
“I think everyone at Arrow SPM is excited to get to Mid-Ohio,” said Hinchcliffe. “Coming off a few strong events and knowing the team was on the podium there last year gives us hope we can repeat and be quick off the trucks. It’s a beautiful track that is a lot of fun to race in an Indy car, so really looking forward to it.”
So far this weekend, Hinchcliffe is looking stout. He was in the top six in all three practice sessions – 5th, 6th and 4th respectively and appears to have a car that can contend for a win on Sunday afternoon. He rolls off 11th. The only reason he’s not in the top 10 was a bit of a hiccup from a car in front of him in Q2 which slowed the Canadian driver up.
“Disappointing qualifying for us,” Hinchcliffe said. “Unfortunately, on our second lap, somebody drove off in front of us and put some dirt on the track, so that cost us a bit of time. Ultimately, we didn’t have the best balance on the reds (Firestone alternate tires). The Arrow SPM car is really good on the blacks (Firestone primary tires), though, so we’ll see tomorrow morning after warmup what tires are going to be the best for the race. We’re sort of hoping blacks because we’ve been competitive on them all weekend, but we’ve got a bit more work to do tomorrow than we were hoping.”