Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin’s night at Texas Motor Speedway came to a premature end on Saturday.
Having qualified for the race in seventh place Mikhail Aleshin in the No.7 SMP Racing Honda had an extremely strong race but was forced to retire after being caught up in an accident with his team mate James Hinchcliffe and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan.
Speaking following the race, the Russian commented by saying:
Well the thing is I was much faster than the guys on the lower line. I thought we were all going to stay together up there, but I think James [Hinchcliffe] touched [Tony] Kanaan – I don’t know the reason for that… then we basically all crashed. I thought we could make it three lanes up there. I didn’t understand what was going on, because I gave space to them, but something was going on with James and Kanaan. In the end, you know, what we have is two great cars that ended up in the wall and that’s just dumb. It’s stupid and I’m very disappointed in regards to the shape of the team this weekend. We could have been in the top spot today.
James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Honda started the race from 16th place and was penalized by IndyCar with a drive through penalty after spinning on pit-road and making contact with Takuma Sato and Helio Castroneves.
The Mayor of HinchTown managed to fight his back from a lap down to be challenging for a top five finish before he was caught up in the accident with Tony Kanaan and Mikhail Aleshin. Chip Ganassi pointed the finger at Hinchcliffe for causing the accident and Hinch’s response was just ‘That’s adorable’.
Speaking following the race, Hinchcliffe commented by saying:
We had a run on TK [Tony Kanaan] and he had plenty of room on the left, but he just came to the right. If you look at the replay, he comes all the way from the white line to the middle of the racetrack, just pinched me into Mikhail [Aleshin]. Either his spotter didn’t tell him we were three wide or what, but I couldn’t go anywhere, I was sandwiched in the middle. I was not expecting him to do that; Tony has more experience in this kind of pack racing than anybody. I went wheel to wheel with him last year for the win and nine times out of 10 would do that all day long, but for whatever reason he wasn’t playing very nice today and wrecked a lot of good equipment.
It turned into way more of a pack race than we’ve had here in a long time, which unfortunately, leads to situations like this. A lot of good cars taken out, but I’m glad everybody’s okay. We had such a good car. We had that penalty after I looped it in pit lane, but then we raced our way back to the lead lap; we were side-by-side with Will [Power] and we had the car in the top five. The Arrow Electronics car was just incredible and that last pit stop from the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports guys was just great, it’s just a super frustrating way to end a day that was going as well as that in this fashion. I just feel bad for the Arrow Electronics boys because we had two good cars that got taken out today.