Before James Hinchcliffe was “Hinch” and arguably one of if not the most marketable stars in the Verizon IndyCar Series, he was an up-and-coming driver in the Champ Car Atlantic series whose early YouTube escapades as the “Mayor of Hinchtown” made him something of a cult hero and urban legend.
For those who’ve followed him that long, you’ll appreciate and remember this video.
Back in 2008, the last year that Atlantic series ran at Road America – besides Hinchcliffe the field featured a number of talents like Dane Cameron, Jonathan Bomarito, Simona de Silvestro, Jonathan Summerton among others like Frankie Muniz and Nigel Mansell’s two sons – Hinchcliffe went through the paddock and introduced the famous Johnsonville bratwurst served at Road America to drivers, officials and media.
Eight years later, the video remains a cult classic and part of the reason why Hinchcliffe loves Road America so much.
Of course, he loves driving there as well, and it was fitting that when he made his comeback after his accident in practice for the Indianapolis 500, that the comeback occurred at Road America.
On this Thursday, a day before the Verizon IndyCar Series properly resumes at Road America for the KOHLER Grand Prix weekend (race airs Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN), we bring you this #TBT for when Hinch and brats came together for a legendary 2008 Internet video (video shot by IMSA PR ace Nate Siebens).
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.