After accident, James Hinchcliffe is on ‘best vacation you never wanted’


Most of James Hinchcliffe’s days revolve around one big decision:

Spend the majority of the day sitting on the couch or laying in bed.

“It’s very stressful and strenuous, as you can imagine,” Hinchcliffe joked from his Indianapolis home in a Wednesday teleconference.

The rest of the day, the 28-year-old Canadian driver devotes to the recovery process.

Some days involve the self-proclaimed “space nerd” reading science-fiction novels provided by Indy Lights driver and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate Jack Harvey (the latest being “The Martian” by Andy Weir), counting how many steps he takes in a day (“Today I’m up to 2,400, which is slightly below my best of just over 4,000. That was a good day.”), spending time his with his girlfriend, Kirsten Dee, and watching good, old-fashioned television.

“Daytime television sucks in this country,” Hinchcliffe says, later observing, “It’s almost like the best vacation you never wanted.”

When he chooses to sit on his couch, Hinchcliffe doesn’t have to look far for the reminders.

The get-well cards, from friends and fans, across the country, line his mantle and a book shelf.

That’s in addition to the text messages, emails and social media comments he’s received since his wreck four weeks ago.

“I get to sit there and see reminders of people that care about you, people that are wishing you well,” Hinchcliffe said. “For me, part of my motivation to get better is for the people that took time to reach out to me as much as anything else.”

While the messages remind the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver about those who care about his well being, they also serve as a reminder about “how close it was to being a different story.”

According to the Red Cross, the average adult body holds 10 pints of blood at a given time.

In an interview with SportsNet (via the Indianapolis Star), a Canadian sports cable network, Hinchcliffe said he needed about 14 pints of blood while an ambulance carried him the 3.8 miles to IU Health Methodist Hospital from Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 18.

Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Honda had crashed in Turn 3 during practice for the Indianapolis 500.

While the Holmatro Safety Team worked to remove Hinchcliffe from the car, it found a pool of blood beneath him. A wishbone from the underbody suspension connected to the wheels had pierced the tub of his car, and then his upper-left thigh.

“I’m not sure if it’s some sort of defense mechanism or biology taking over,” Hinchcliffe said. “Despite being conscious throughout the whole process, I have mercifully been spared any memory of the accident whatsoever, of the extrication. Even the first couple days at the hospital are a bit of a blur.”

It wasn’t until five days later, hearing first-hand accounts from family members and doctors, that he began to realize how serious things had gotten.

At one point, Hinchcliffe told SportsNet, a doctor would “casually” inform his family “He might not make it.”

Doctors would tell Hinchliffe that if the wishbone had struck him five millimeters in another direction, he might not have survived.

Hinchcliffe said Wednesday when he finally woke up in the ICU, he knew he had been in an accident and that “I was somewhere I probably shouldn’t be.”

Attached to a ventilator, Hinchcliffe could only communicate by writing on paper. That’s how he communicated to team members about the crash and how he asked about when he could race again.

Exercise isn’t a priority in Hinchcliffe’s recovery, not yet.

That will come four to six weeks after he undergoes one last surgery in about two months on his abdomen. Then he’ll be able to work on gaining the 12 pounds of muscle mass he’s lost in the last month.

Right now, he’s permitted to work on his forearm strength so he’ll be ready to grip a steering wheel. He can also use an elliptical machine, which was the first big step in recovery. Other than that, it’s the couch or counting steps.

“Obviously when you have had injuries, you’re not using your legs as much, the more you clot,” Hinchcliffe said. “The fact I had a complete oil change (blood transfusion) makes that more of a risk as well. The chance to get off the blood thinners, alleviate the risk of clots.

“Movement is very good. At the same time you don’t want to overdo anything or aggravate anything. That has been a big challenge, trying to stay active, but at the same time giving the body the rest it needs to recover, making sure you don’t push it too hard.”

Another part of his recovery, at least mentally, is racing.

Since his May 18 crash, the Verizon IndyCar Series has ran four races and Hinchcliffe has been able to watch. He even gave the command to start engines for the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway via the “Big Hoss TV” on the backstretch.

“I think it has helped,” Hinchcliffe said. “It’s kind of the sitting down and turning the TV on and watching the race. I love having it to watch. I’ve still been kept as part of the team. I’m still getting the pre and post-race reports. I obviously have a vested interest in it. It does make it a little bit more interesting to watch.”

Hinchcliffe has seen the video of the crash many times and he’s talked with his engineers. He’s also been to his team’s shop, where he looked at the racecar that could have been his last.

All of it in effort to better understand what went wrong.

“It’s equal parts fascinating and terrifying, to be honest,” Hinchcliffe said. “It was literally one of those one in a million situations. The part that failed is a part that we have almost no recorded failures of ever. I know a lot was spoken about mileage of pieces, this, that and the other in the aftermath of the crash. I know a lot of teams changed rockers, whether they were mileaged or not, after my accident.”

But the crash, as dangerous as it was, isn’t deterring him from returning to the car. Hinchcliffe says his determination comes down to how drivers are programmed.

“I think it’s because we’re all absolutely insane, wired wrong,” Hinchcliffe says. “We’re all competitors. This is what we live to do. Despite the fact that something of this nature happened, it’s something that we all acknowledge can happen.”

Hinchcliffe says there’s relief in knowing the crash wasn’t because of driver error. However, it’s also “sobering” to know that something out of your control has such a significant impact on your life.

“That’s the nature of the beast,” Hinchliffe says. “That’s the game we play. We play it willingly.”

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”