James Hinchcliffe and back-up partner wow in Dancing With The Stars

(Photo and video courtesy Dancing With The Stars)
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When something happens to his primary race car, Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe typically goes to a backup ride.

Doing that when his primary partner in Dancing With The Stars is suddenly sidelined with an injury, and Hinchcliffe has to go to a backup partner – well, that might not be so easy.

But the Canadian driver and fill-in partner Jenna Johnson made it look more than easy, as if they had been dancing together for years, as they dominated Monday’s edition of DWTS.

Not only did the pair earn a perfect score of 30, they also received five bonus points as they continued to be one of the favorites to win the overall competition.

Johnson replaced Hinchcliffe’s original partner, Sharna Burgess, after she injured her knee in a fall and will need at least a few weeks of rest to recover.

Burgess and Hinchcliffe had complete faith Johnson could step in (or is that dance in?) and make them proud – and she did.

DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba said the couple’s Viennese waltz to Grace’s “You Don’t Own Me” was “beyond incredible.”

Fellow judge Julianne Hough added, “You are the real deal because you can dance with any partner.”

In keeping with the show’s airing on Halloween night, all contestants were dressed in costumes. Hinchcliffe was dressed as The Joker, while Johnson was dressed as Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad.

Check out a tweet from the show that included Hinchcliffe’s and Johnson’s dance.

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Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.