The Mayor of Hinchtown James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda put a difficult start to the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season firmly behind him with a great drive finishing the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach inside the top ten in eighth place battling with Team Penske’s Will Power throughout the race and right up until the end of the race over seventh place.
Hinch had been happy with the car right from the get go on Friday saying that the car had come off the truck in good shape with the team making very few changes to the set up between practice sessions.
Hinch qualified for Sunday’s race in seventh place and ended the race just ahead of KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden.
Speaking following the race, Hinch commented by saying:
It was barely a two-stopper and we need a genuine three-stopper so we can go racing. We seriously need to look at the length of the races. It’s been a bittersweet day really. It was nice to come away with a top-10 and we had a good first stint, stayed out of trouble and kept up with the guys in front of us. On the first pit sequence, we sort of got bad timing and just as we had finished our stop and were about to be released, we had to hold for a bit because Munoz was entering his box. This ultimately cost us getting out and Takuma Sato was able to jump us in the stops and that really what differentiated us; he had that little bit better track position, stayed in front of the guys in the next round of stops and came away with a top-5. I think we had his pace, definitely had more pace than the guys ahead of us right at the end, we just didn’t have the opportunity to get around them. When there are no cautions like this, it takes strategies out of the mix and unfortunately it becomes a bit of a fuel-saving race, which is never fun for us and not the best show for the fans. But we brought the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car home, we were quick all weekend and hopefully we can take this momentum into Barber (Motorsports Park) next week.
Hinch went on to say:
The weekend started on a positive note, however, We rolled off the truck with a good car on Friday and I’m really proud of the Arrow Electronics guys for the prep that they did because the car was a rocket from the get-go.” The Mayor and his crew tried to make the legendary Firestone Fast Six in qualifying and just missed, ending up in seventh. “We’re starting on the inside, which is great. This is such a turnaround from Phoenix two weeks ago.