Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe was delighted after claiming his first victory in over a year at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday. The Mayor Of HinchTown who started the race from fourth place drove brilliantly to take the win just ahead of Sebastien Bourdais and Josef Newgarden.
I’m so proud of these boys! I’m proud of the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports guys, Honda, everybody, just a phenomenal result. This racetrack has been so good to me over the years; I had my first Atlantic podium here, first Indy Lights win here, first IndyCar top five and my first IndyCar podium. It’s just always been one that I’ve wanted to be on top of. To finally get to Victory Circle is awesome.
It was was Hinch’s first win at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and his fifth Verizon IndyCar Series career win. The Toronto native went on to say:
To finally do what was goal No. 1 when we set out at the start of the season, to get back into winner’s circle, to do so as early in the season as we have, as convincingly as we did, was great. After Indy and personally me for Toronto, this is the biggest one to win. “I’ve had a lot of luck here. We’ve been really quick here in the past and to finally get to victory lane here is more than I can put into words.
The Mayor of HinchTown took the lead for good on the 63rd lap and led the way from there to take victory. He continued by saying:
This place has a lot of history, that’s what drivers really care about. The greatest of the greats have won here. Toronto, Indy and this place were on my bucket list to win before I die, and it’s nice to check one off.
Hinchcliffe now heads to Texas to try out the newly repaved surface at Texas Motor Speedway where he came close to victory last season and speaking more about his victory in Long Beach, Hinchcliffe stated:
A lot has changed since the last time we were sitting up here. It’s just so nice to be back. We came really close last year. A lot of people talked about 2016 as sort of the comeback year. Personally we really wanted to as a team to put an exclamation point on that by coming to Victory Lane. We came as close as humanly possible in Texas last year. Didn’t quite get the job done. We were sore to not win a race last year. We worked hard this off-season to perfect the package we had. Good speed at a lot of races last year. To roll off the first two races of the season, being in the Fast Six both times, if not for a caution falling for the wrong time at St. Pete, could have been in the top five or on podium there. To do it here and finally at this place, a track that I love so much, a track that’s been very good to me in my career, one that I think is the Indy 500 of street tracks, it’s the second longest running race after the 500. I think because of that history, it makes it a very special event, one that every driver wants to win. The greats have all raced here, the greats have all won here. To get in the winner’s circle was huge.