Elevated to a front row start after pole sitter Helio Castroneves’ engine penalty, James Hinchcliffe promptly took the lead from Will Power on the opening lap and has been able to stay there throughout the first half of the Iowa Corn Indy 250.
Hinchcliffe maintained his lead through pit stops under yellow after a debris caution at Lap 38, which caused him to lose a six-second advantage on the high-banked short oval. But after the race went back green on Lap 52, Hinchcliffe got back to building up his lead in the early stages of the stint.
Marco Andretti tried to stay within striking distance of Hinchcliffe in the second stint, but soon lost second position to Graham Rahal at Lap 105. A short time later, green flag pit stops began around Lap 115 and Hinchcliffe cycled back into the lead after stopping at Lap 117.
Rahal has stayed in second place, while Andretti has kept third spot. Simon Pagenaud, who vaulted 20 spots to a fifth-place finish last year at Iowa is fourth, and Oriol Servia is giving Panther’s No. 4 car a good run in fifth position.
Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.
Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.
“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.
“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”