The “Mayor of Hinchtown” is shipping up to Boston.
As the Verizon IndyCar Series prepares to ring in the New Year, two former teammates are spread coast-to-coast to raise awareness of the series and the 100th Indianapolis 500 at two marquee New Year’s Day events.
While Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay paced the field in an Acura NSX for the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. ahead of the Rose Bowl (Stanford vs. Iowa), his past teammate James Hinchcliffe will be on the opposite side of the country, in Boston, for the annual Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET, NBC).
This year, it’s the Montreal Canadiens versus the Boston Bruins, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Hinchcliffe is on-hand at Gillette to catch all of the action between the Bruins and Habs alumni, despite being a Maple Leafs fan. Hinchcliffe said in the above video he’s “100 percent” after his recovery from injuries sustained earlier this year.
The game will happen, meanwhile, with a high temperature of 40 degrees expected outside.
“Being the token Canadian kid for so long, I guess it was time to go,” Hinchcliffe told MotorSportsTalk. “I’ve watched this for so many years.
“But we’re always looking to get out there a little bit. There’s a lot of tie-in with Bridgestone Firestone with NHL and Honda as well. It will be very cool to see it in person.
“It’s one of the huge perks of the job, getting to go to events like this. You look at the setup here. So many people travel an awful long way for this. So you’re kind of inside the line.”
Beyond attending the Bridgestone Winter Classic, Hinchcliffe is in Boston to help promote the first Grand Prix of Boston event for next Labor Day weekend, and he’ll join a Bridgestone-hosted group from the Boston Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) as special guests.
On January 2, he’ll lace up the skates with the boys and girls for a free-skate on the Bridgestone Winter Classic ice. More importantly, his inspirational comeback story will make an already unforgettable experience for these deserving youths even more memorable.
“It’s an organization that Bridgestone has been involved with in the past,” he said. “This is us giving back to the communities … and we do have the race coming to town soon.”
This is Hinchcliffe’s first trip to Boston and the warm weather has been a welcome surprise. The trip is also serving as a quick scouting mission ahead of the race.
“It’s exciting to get to see it. Living in Indianapolis, you’re sort of told not root for the Patriots. But it’s cool to come here and see the stadium. We’re in downtown, in the center, and we’ll see if I can pass along any secrets to my engineer,” he joked.
“The layout looks good for sure,” he added. “So many tracks look good on paper, but end up being processional. Then some you get barnburners. We won’t know for sure until we’re on track. The area in town is awesome. There’s a great atmosphere and should be fun to come back here year one.”