One year on from his horror crash at the Indianapolis 500 that gave him life threatening leg injuries, James Hinchcliffe came back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the hope of putting those memories behind him and creating a new story to write about, and he did just that.
The Schmidt Peterson Motorsport driver will start the 100th running of the Indy 500 from the pole position following a consistent four-lap run around the 2.5-mile oval, and the popular Canadian praised his team for the great job they did to give him a great car to be able to capture his maiden Verizon IndyCar Series pole position on its grandest stage.
“I came into this month hoping we would have a new story to talk about after what happened last year, and I think we did it,” said Hinchcliffe. “The Arrow Electronics car was just an absolute smoke show out there; it was right on the edge.
“Allen McDonald, all my engineers, did such a great job. . .these guys worked so hard. Three Schmidt Peterson Motorsports cars in the top 10? It’s incredible. Now we’ve got the best seat in the house for the start of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.”
Hinchcliffe revealed the intense pressure he was under during his one and only qualifying attempt of the day, but the Canadian stood firm and completed his four-lap run at an average speed of 230.760mph.
He now turns his focus to next weekend’s 500-mile race, knowing the mindset he will need to be in will be completely different to the 10-mile qualifying run.
“Obviously, this race always has more pressure than anywhere else and, it being the 100th, there’s a little more attention as well,” said Hinchcliffe. “Obviously, we’ve done something right as a team.
“It’s a long race. Ten miles is one thing. You’ve got to hold your breath for that whole thing. But 500 is a very different deal. You’ve got to be patient. You’ve got to breathe. You’ve got to know when to push and when to relax.
“At least we’ve got a good starting spot, the best starting spot and we can kind of go from there.”