The Mayor of Hinchtown James Hinchcliffe endured a difficult race weekend as the Verizon IndyCar Series returned to Phoenix International Raceway for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix.
The Mayor suffered an accident in practice on Friday morning caused by under-steer damaging his No.5 Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda meaning that the Canadian was forced to sit out qualifying as the team worked to repair his car. Speaking following the crash at Turn 2, Hinch commented by saying:
For everybody, it’s crazy how much the track feels that it’s changed since the test, I think we got a direction. The unfortunate thing is it’s the exact opposite of what we were planning on doing coming into the weekend. That’s how different the track feels.
The Arrow Electronics SPM team worked extremely hard and were able to get the Mayor back on track for Saturday’s final practice where he completed 18 laps of the Phoenix International Raceway.
Hinch started Saturday’s race from the final row in 22nd place and finished the event in 18th place, two laps down on race winner Scott Dixon. Speaking following the race, Hinch said:
Man, a long day at the office for sure. No doubt, missing as much practice as we did hurt us. It took us a couple shots to get the car dialled in to what we needed to feel that we could race those guys. Unfortunately by that point we caught an unlucky yellow just after a pit stop and that put us two laps down. It was sort of the same story as St. Pete where we were running around tailing the field but where we were able to keep the leaders behind us.
Hinch went on to say:
The first stint we are running around the tail of the field but managing to keep the leaders behind us to stay on the lead lap and then the first round of green stops, we caught that unlucky yellow and from there again you’re kind of just playing damage control. Our last two sets we were picking up a pretty bad vibration half way through the stint, so we could be decent at the start of a run and the second half would be tougher.
Looking ahead to the next race, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the mayor of Hinchtown commented by saying:
All in all, a long day. This kind of thing is to be expected when you start the weekend off the way we did. I just need to thank my No. 5 Arrow crew once again for all their hard work this weekend and we will bounce back in Long Beach and hopefully get some good points there.