James Hinchcliffe felt content with his run to seventh in Sunday’s 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil despite starting from pole and remaining in the lead group of cars for much of the race.
Hinchcliffe spent much of the first stint of the race exchanging the lead back and forth with Ryan Hunter-Reay, but a fuel issue cost him time at the opening round of pit stops in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.
The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver battled his way back into contention for the win, only to suffer a loss in grip in the closing stages as temperatures rose at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
A late splash-and-dash for fuel with four laps to go ended Hinchcliffe’s hopes of a famous victory, just over one year on from his devastating accident, leaving him to settle for P7 at the checkered flag.
“I have to give everybody on the Arrow crew a ton of credit for the effort the entire month,” Hinchcliffe said after the race.
“Coming in third at the GP of Indy, qualifying on the pole and the race here, it was a solid effort.
“We were super strong the first half and definitely had one of the cars to beat. It was really just track temperatures that caught us out there.
“We started losing grip as the temperatures came up late in the afternoon and the last two stints were a real struggle when we tried to make the tires last. Well, more than a stint because we came in for that splash of fuel at the end.
“A couple guys out there took a punt on fuel – congrats to Alex [Rossi, race winner] and great to see Honda back on top.
“Realistically, I think we had a third or fourth place effort today, which is nothing to turn your nose up at.”
Combined with the points for pole position, the ‘500 has seen Hinchcliffe rise from eighth to fifth in the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers’ championship, ranking as the lead Honda driver on 205 points.