A year can make all the difference in the world.
At least it has for James Hinchcliffe, who last year was forced to make an impromptu command to start engines at Texas Motor Speedway instead of receiving it.
“As much as I wish I was down there with you guys right now, I’m not,” Hinchcliffe said from his home in Toronto. “So you guys have to go put on a good show for me because I don’t get quite as much action as I used to. Have a fun, fast and most importantly safe race.”
With the command delivered, Hinchcliffe’s replacement driver Ryan Briscoe fired up the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Honda, rolled off from the grid 19th, and put on an impressive show while Hinch watched from the couch. Briscoe finished eighth.
The 2015 season was put on hold following last May. This year at Texas, Hinchcliffe will receive the command. It’ll be his first start at Texas since finishing 14th in 2014, then driving with Andretti Autosport.
Now, Hinchcliffe has a full season to look forward to, and will look to atone from a challenging weekend in Detroit. A mechanical issue caused an accident on Saturday and then Sunday, he was caught up in a three-wide mess with Carlos Munoz and Charlie Kimball at the start.
“Now that we are past Indy, we are headed to all the tracks I missed last year,” Hinchcliffe noted before the Firestone 600.
“I’m incredibly excited for the rest of the calendar. Texas Motor Speedway is no exception. Since the DW12 came out, the racing there has been super intense from inside the car. It’s one of the biggest setup challenges of the year, so we are hoping that the Arrow Electronics car can be solid rolling off the truck and can fight up front.”
Hinchcliffe aims to be the seventh different winner in nine IndyCar races this season. The closest he came this year was when he finished third in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He also scored a famous pole for the Indianapolis 500.