INDIANAPOLIS – For the third time since 2014, James Hinchcliffe faced adversity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Like the other two times, he bounced make masterfully.
Hinchcliffe, facing do-or-die situation on Sunday, put his No. 5 Honda into the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network). The popular Canadian driver was the first qualifier of six for the Last Row Shootout and despite a green track, turned in a four-lap average of 227.543 mph.
It was good enough for the 32nd starting position for next Sunday’s race.
After his scary qualifying crash on Saturday, Hinchcliffe’s status for the Indy 500 was in doubt. We saw how the cars that had crashed here this month have struggled in making this race. Four of the six drivers in the Last Row Shootout had a crash this past week.
That’s why Hinchcliffe had to be wondering what he ever did to piss this place off?
In 2014, he was hit in the helmet on the backstretch (Hulman Blvd) of the INDYCAR Grand Prix. That gave him a concussion which nearly didn’t allow him to qualify the next weekend for the Indianapolis 500.
Then, he was nearly killed in a practice accident the next year when his No. 5 Honda violently hit the wall in Turn 3 which as a result he nearly died on the scene. Luckily, doctors were able to save him which allowed him to make a full recovery.
Then, came Saturday’s crash.
Luckily, he’s came back with a vengeance in qualifying all three times.
In 2014, he earned the second starting spot for the ‘500 after being concussed a week earlier. In 2016, he qualified on the pole for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. On Sunday, he made the field with having just one shot to do so.