Andretti Harding Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe in the No.29 Capstone Honda came through the carnage on lap 20 of the inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville to claim his first podium finish of the season as he aims to bounce back from what has been an extremely difficult season for the Mayor Of HinchTown.
Hinch started Sunday’s race from tenth on the grid and came home in third place and speaking to Paddock Eye following the race, the Canadian said:
Yeah, I mean, like I said, we’ve been kind of finding some pace the last few weekends. Mid-Ohio sort of ended before it started for us.
I think the team is doing a great job. I think we’re really gelling at the moment. We’ve had a few good ones in a row. We got a couple tracks coming up that we really enjoy.
Hopefully this is some momentum that we can carry through the last five races of the year.
James Hinchcliffe went on to say:
Such a strong result for the 29 guys, the Capstone / Genesys Honda and Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport. We’ve had a rough year, there’s no doubt about it. We’ve had a lot of things go against us. We thought we were following the trend and got stuck in that traffic jam in Turn 11, but Brian Barnhart [strategist] on the pit stand made a great call to get us in the pits. That sort of switched the race for us. We were saving fuel there at the end so we couldn’t really fight [Scott] Dixon there too hard. That two-lap sprint there at the end was exciting and happy to bring home a podium
Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda who has also had a tough season came from 14th on the grid to finish the race in fourth place giving the Florida-native a much-needed boost as question marks remain about his future in the sport with rumors linking Romain Grosjean to his No.28 DHL Honda for 2022.
Speaking following the race he said:
“It was a wild race as we expected here in Nashville. We had a good day. We had some good strategy calls and good pace. Ultimately, we should’ve ended up on the podium, but just had a little trip up on pit lane. It was a good day for everybody all involved on the 28 DHL team.”
Alexander Rossi who started the race from third ran consistently in the top three for the majority of the race before contact with Patricio O’Ward on Lap 51 sent the 27 machine to the rear of the field however and came home in 17th place and speaking following the race he said:
“It was a really promising day. I think we for sure had a car for the podium, probably second place. With the speed that Colton [Herta] had, I think the two of us were easily clear of the rest of the field. We had a good strategy decision to pit when we did, that was the strategy that won the race, but unfortunately, we got taken out by Pato [O’Ward] and that sent us to the back of the line. He got a drive-thru, but it didn’t really do anything for us. It was unfortunate because I think we definitely had a car to be on the podium today. The AutoNation crew did a great job on pit lane and all weekend. A shame to come away with nothing.”
Pole-sitter Colton Herta in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda had a great weekend however, he made a mistake in the closing laps of the race and crashed out of the event, and speaking following the race he said:
“It was a really disappointing day in the end. The whole Gainbridge team did an amazing job all weekend. They put me in the best possible position to win, and unfortunately, I threw that away with five [laps] to go. We will keep moving and keep going forward. We have a good car for Indy GP, which is exciting for next week. This one is going to hurt for a little bit