Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin head to the Phoenix International Raceway for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix hopeful of a strong performance in the race.
In St Petersburg last time out Hinch, in his first race back since the middle of last season ended the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in 19th place after suffering a puncture at the start of the race having qualifying in ninth and started in eighth place. Looking ahead to Phoenix, The Mayor of HinchTown told Paddock Eye –
The track is obviously pretty unique for us it’s kind of a weird hybrid of Milwaukee, Iowa and Pocono all in one, and the series hasn’t raced there in quiet some time about ten years and going back you know we tested there as a group at the end of February and it’s fast! It’s incredibly fast, incredibly physical but at the same time it’s very difficult to race on so you know it’s going to be a tricky race, very easy to make a mistake and as always it’s going to be the team and driver that make the fewest mistakes that will end up on top and there is no reason why the No.5 car can’t be that guy.
In the Schmidt Peterson Motorsport’s pre-race press release, Hinchcliffe commented by saying:
It’s really great that INDYCAR got such a historic venue like Phoenix back on the calendar. I remember watching PIR races on TV as a kid, so it will be cool now to get to battle it out there. And it will be a battle! Based on what we saw at the open test, it will be a tight race, very physical, very hot… and I don’t care if it’s a dry heat! Track position will be key but we have a great Arrow Electronics car and some of the best strategists on pit lane, so hopefully we can get the No. 5 up front.
Mikhail Aleshin in the No.7 SPM Racing Honda had a great start to the season in St Petersburg as the Russian started the race from 17th place and drove a fantastic event to come home in fifth place just behind Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race, Aleshin commented by saying:
We had a good start to the 2016 IndyCar season with a fifth place finish in St. Pete. I’m very excited about the first oval race of the season at Phoenix. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be there for the test but I will do my best to bring the SMP Racing No. 7 car to the front.