Helio Castroneves has won three Indianapolis 500s, but it was his turn on “Dancing with the Stars” that had as much to do with vaulting him into the national consciousness of mainstream Americana – if not more so – as those three victories.
James Hinchcliffe, meanwhile, has the engaging, dynamic personality that has captured the hearts of the North American open-wheel paddock and fan base for nearly a decade. And he’ll get his own mainstream Americana chance on the next season of “DWTS.”
Hinchcliffe was announced Tuesday morning on “Good Morning America” as part of the new season cast for the new season of the ABC show, which premieres September 12. The report was initially identified by the Indianapolis Star.
“Well, I can honestly say this will rank just above the Indy 500 as one of the most nerve-wracking things that I’ve ever agreed to do,” Hinchcliffe said in a team release.
“Normally I’m used to working under pressure in front of a live audience, but I can’t see them, so this should be a totally new experience for me and especially as someone with no ability to dance whatsoever.”
The 29-year-old Canadian follows Castroneves as Verizon IndyCar Series drivers on the show; former NASCAR team owner and two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip was also on the show a few years ago.
Hinchcliffe sits eighth in points for the 2016 season driving the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. He has three podiums, including a hard-luck runner-up finish Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway by just 0.008 of a second to Graham Rahal, after leading from the restart and after the joke of him leading for 76 straight days in the race’s rain delay.
He also scored a famous pole position for this year’s 100th Indianapolis 500, a year after near fatal injuries sustained in an accident in practice in 2015.