MotorSportsTalk’s 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series driver-by-driver review comes next to James Hinchcliffe, who seemingly had a cartoon anvil chase him around throughout the year.
- Team: Andretti Autosport
- 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
- 2014: 12th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 2nd, 1 Podium, 4 Top-5, 8 Top-10, 75 Laps Led, 8.2 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
James Hinchcliffe’s comedic streak was probably the only thing that kept his sanity in check during an utterly frustrating 2014 campaign, that produced only one podium finish and a drop from eighth each of the last two years to 12th in points.
From getting speared by his teammate in Long Beach, to the debris striking his helmet and giving him a concussion at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, to his contact with Ed Carpenter and Townsend Bell while running top-five in the ‘500, and then to a wildly inconsistent final 13 races where he never posted more than two consecutive top-10 finishes, Hinchcliffe was about as predictable as the month of May weather in Indianapolis. Which is to say completely unpredictable.
At Toronto he had one of the lines of the year when he downplayed his weekend chances and said, “I just assume it will go poorly.” While his results were down, there was relatively decent chemistry between he and new engineer Nathan O’Rourke, his qualifying remained solid (five second place starts and a year-on-year growth from 9.1 to 8.2 average grid spot) and his temperament stayed calm even as the breaks didn’t go his way, at all. Hinch remains one of IndyCar’s most popular and talented drivers, who will try to put it all together once more in 2015.