James Hinchcliffe returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday for the first time since his horror practice crash at the legendary oval in 2015 that curtailed his season with serious leg injuries.
The Canadian took to the track in his #5 Sam Schmidt Motorsports machine, running 46 laps of the circuit, setting the fourteenth best time out of the fifteen competitors running, but Hinchcliffe was just happy to be back out there after the crash that he was lucky to survive.
Hinchcliffe admitted it was hard to sit out the Indy 500 in 2015, which he feels is the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Super Bowl.
“Everyone was going to be thinking about it until we got out here and ran some laps,” said Hinchcliffe. “It’s always nice to be back at the Speedway; we all say that all the time and it’s extra nice to be able to go around at pace today.
“Sitting out last year was tough. Getting to watch all my friends and colleagues go do the greatest race on earth and have to be watching from the sidelines is a big blow, for sure. This is our Super Bowl, this is what we really put as much attention on as anything else. Of all the ones to miss, it’s the hardest.
“To get the opportunity now to come back, it definitely feels a little more rewarding.”