Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe was very happy following qualifying for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in third place just behind Scott Dixon and pole sitter Will Power.

The Mayor of HinchTown will start Sunday’s race, which he won for Andretti Autosport in 2013 which was his first Verizon IndyCar Series victory. Speaking following the session in which he set a time of 01:01.3039s, Hinchcliffe commented by saying:

Obviously starting off the season strong is huge. Momentum in this sport and any sport really is a key to success, and winning the first one and getting off to that strong start always makes you feel good and keeps the team in the right state of mind. And (my win here in 2013) was the first one in my career, so obviously a pretty emotional day and one that I remember very clearly, and with our best starting spot here, obviously the competition up front is incredible. The Verizon IndyCar Series never fails to disappoint in that sense and congrats to Will and everybody at Honda to really step up their game, and happy to be starting inside of Row 2 and kind of see how it plays out tomorrow.

Hinchcliffe’s team mate Mikhail Aleshin in the No.7 SPM Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda will start the race from 17th place and speaking following the session, the Russian commented by saying:

It was quite a tough qualifying for us. I was definitely expecting more, but tomorrow is going to be a long race. We are going to do everything possible to get a good result for the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team.

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