IndyCar Driver Review: James Hinchcliffe

Leave a comment

With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

In eighth place, IndyCar’s resident court jester and the second of four first-time winners in 2013, James Hinchcliffe…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

James Hinchcliffe

  • Team: Andretti Autosport
  • 2012: 8th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 2nd
  • 2013: 8th Place, 3 Wins, Best Start 2nd, 4 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 264 Laps Led, 9.1 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: Hinch is known as the comedian of the IndyCar paddock and his season was the equivalent of a sitcom: it alternated brilliant episodes with clunkers on a regular basis. Three wins were balanced out by four finishes of 21st or worse in the first 11 races, before six top-10s in the final eight races concluded the year. The sitcom metaphor continues because in the second half of the year, Hinch had to keep producing great on-track performances while mulling his future: do I take my talents to another channel (team) or stay with the network (team) where I’ve grown further? He chose the latter, he’ll be better for it and he’ll rock even harder in 2014.

Estrada says: After a wildly uneven first half in which he rarely found the middle ground between finishing up front and finishing in the back, Hinchcliffe put together a steady stretch of good results to close what was a pivotal year for him. Unlike in the past, Hinchcliffe was in a position of strength when it came time to Silly Season and his work on the track didn’t do anything to take away from it. Now thoroughly ensconced within the Andretti camp, the Canadian will now be looking to maintain that consistency he had toward the end of 2013 and bring it into next spring.

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
Chris Jones/IndyCar
Leave a comment

The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”