Dancing meets racing as Burgess visits “Hinch” in Sonoma

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SONOMA, Calif. – James Hinchcliffe entered the dancing world last week with his first performance on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” with professional dance partner Sharna Burgess.

On Friday at Sonoma Raceway, it was time for Burgess – the Australian – to enter the racing world for her first ever lap in a two-seater IndyCar, with the “Mayor of Hinchtown” behind the wheel.

A specially arranged two-seater ride was set up where Hinchcliffe would be behind the wheel of the ARROW two-seater IndyCar, a car usually driven by others such as Davey Hamilton, Zach Veach and Gabby Chaves, with Burgess as his passenger in the backseat.

Dancing is a physical task and it’s something Hinchcliffe’s had to learn through thorough preparation.

For Burgess, however, with no time to prepare other than getting suited and booted – her high heels took a tradeoff to driving shoes for the moment of the ride – it was a surreal experience.

“My legs felt like jelly! I felt like everything else was in slow motion after going that fast. It was an indescribable feeling,” Burgess told NBC Sports right after the ride happened.

Burgess, who called the ride “better than a roller coaster,” described the physicality after just two laps.

“It’s hard for me to even understand,” she said. “My job is physical, and I know how to push it.

“But what James and IndyCar drivers do is a whole other level. Turning a car with no power steering, and with that exact precision for three hours, is unbelievable. It far exceeds the athleticism that I need as a dancer.

“I completely terrified myself! I just didn’t know what to expect. Going 165 mph is a lot faster than I ever have gone or will do. I knew I was in safe hands with James. But you can’t expect what it will feel like. This is amazing.”

Hinchcliffe, for his part, weighed in during a press conference on Saturday morning.

“I think she enjoyed it. The interesting thing for mere is educating people about IndyCar racing, what it takes to do what we do. Sharna has had quite an education over the last couple weeks, learning how athletic drivers have to be, how focused they have to be, the concentration level required to compete at this level,” he said.

“She kind of saw from the periphery of Texas, but didn’t really see anything on track, we didn’t really know each other. Now having learned all these things from me, getting to come here, see some of it on the track, experience the car herself, again opens her eyes to the next level of what it really takes to do this.”

Here’s more from the ride-along itself on Friday.

Hinchcliffe, for his part, said his dancing the first week went better than expected as he looks ahead to this week’s show.

“I hadn’t been through anything on a dance floor, good, bad or indifferent. There were a lot of unknowns for certain,” he said. “Doing it not only in front of a live studio audience, but a live television audience, something I’ve been doing for two weeks versus something I’ve been doing for two decades.

“It was very nerve wracking. But I have an incredible partner in Sharna Burgess. She kept me calm. We were joking literally right up until the count came down. We almost missed the start of the song because we were cracking jokes on the dance floor. I didn’t see the video package leading into it. I don’t remember what we were joking about. We were joking about something.”

His logistical challenges trying to get from place to place in the last couple weeks have been helped and aided by his personal PR rep, Fiona Hewitson.

“I think there is a lot of time in an IndyCar driver’s career we’re pulled in a million different directions,” he said. “We have to be able to flip the switch, focus on one thing, flip the switch off, focus on something else, travel, whatever. It kind of goes with the lifestyle. In a lot of ways doing this for a living prepared me for taking on this extra responsibility and extra task.

“The scheduling and logistics have been a bit of a nightmare over the last couple of weeks. Fiona deserves a ton of credit for getting me all through it.”

Overall, INDYCAR has released a series of political posters for voting for Hinchcliffe, designed as much to promote the “Team Stop and Go” and also to spoof/troll the actual candidates running for office in the 2016 presidential election.

Donald Trump’s “Trump: Make America Great Again” is changed to “Hinch: Make IndyCar Dance Again,” Barack Obama’s 2008 slogan of “Hope” is replaced with Hinch and “Dance”  and there’s also an overall ballot posted. Hillary Clinton’s “I’m with Her” is swapped to “I’m with Hinch.”


dwts-hinch-hope-poster dwts-hinch-decision-2016

The “Mayor” also called in some support before he started dancing last week from his roommate/good friend and fellow Verizon IndyCar Series driver Conor Daly, who starred in the following video shot at Watkins Glen.

Hinchcliffe’s first dance is linked below, along with some support from the INDYCAR community.

Saturday’s Supercross Round 11 in Seattle: How to watch, start times, schedules, streams


With three multiple winners now vying for the championship, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to Round 11 at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington.

Chase Sexton earned his second victory of the season in Detroit when Aaron Plessinger fell on the final lap. Though he was penalized seven points for disobeying a flag, Sexton is third in the championship race. The Honda rider trails leader Cooper Webb (two victories) by 17 points, and defending series champion Eli Tomac (five wins) is three points behind Webb in second with seven races remaining.

Tomac won last year in Seattle on the way to his second season title.

Honda riders have a Supercross-leading 20 victories in the Seattle event but none at Lumen Field since Justin Barcia in 2013. Tomac and Barcia are the only past 450 Seattke winners entered in Saturday’s event.

Here are the pertinent details for watching Round 11 of the 2023 Supercross season in Seattle:

(All times are ET)

BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE: TV coverage of Round 11 will begin Saturday at 10 p.m. ET streaming on Peacock with a re-air Monday at 1 a.m. ET on CNBC. The Race Day Live show (including qualifying) will begin on Peacock at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

NBC Sports will have exclusive live coverage of races, qualifiers and heats for the record 31 events in SuperMotocross. The main events will be presented on Peacock, NBC, USA Network, CNBC, and NBC Sports digital platforms.

Peacock will become the home of the SuperMotocross World Championship series in 2023 with live coverage of all races, qualifying, and heats from January to October. There will be 23 races livestreamed exclusively on Peacock, including a SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff event. The platform also will provide on-demand replays of every race. Click here for the full schedule.

POINTS STANDINGS: 450 division l 250 division

ENTRY LISTS450 division l 250 division

EVENT SCHEDULE (all times ET): 

Here are the start times for Saturday’s Supercross Round 11 in Seattle, according to the Monster Energy Supercross schedule from the AMA:

4:50 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 1
5:05 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 1
5:20 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 1
5:35 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 1
6:25 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 2
6:40 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 2
7:55 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 2
8:10 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 2
10:06 p.m.: 250SX Heat 1
10:20 p.m.: 250SX Heat 2
10:34 p.m.: 450SX Heat 1
10:48 p.m.: 450SX Heat 2
11:22 p.m.: 250SX Last Chance Qualifier
11:34 p.m.: 450SX Last Chance Qualifier
11:54 p.m.: 250SX Main Event
12:28 a.m.: 450SX Main Event

TRACK LAYOUTClick here to view the track map


FINAL 2022 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings


ROUND 1: Eli Tomac opens title defense with victory

ROUND 2: Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael on Supercross wins list

ROUND 3: Tomac holds off Cooper Webb again

ROUND 4: Chase Sexton wins Anaheim Triple Crown

ROUND 5: Eli Tomac leads wire to wire in Houston

ROUND 6: Cooper Webb breaks through in Tampa

ROUND 7: Webb wins again in Arlington

ROUND 8: Tomac wins Daytona for the seventh time

ROUND 9: Ken Roczen scores first victory since 2022

ROUND 10: Chase Sexton inherits Detroit victory but docked points


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