From glancing off the Turn 4 wall to navigating a multicar crash to battling one of the sport’s all-time greats, James Hinchcliffe had a memorable Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in 2019.
The Canadian driver who won the 500’s pole in 2016 also earned the distinction of advancing the highest number of positions in a single race this season by starting 32nd and finishing 11th in the oval race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Short of winning the 500 for the first time, Hinchcliffe wanted a top-10 finish. However, Tony Kanaan, the race’s 2013 winner, denied him that on the final restart.
“We were sitting there near the end, but TK, famous for his restarts, just snookered us there,” Hinchcliffe said. “We got boxed in, and I couldn’t make a move.”
As the video here shows, Hinchcliffe had a strong car, particularly in the first half of the race.
“On the first stint, the car was really dialed in,” he said. “Then the track (temperatures) got hotter, we lost a little bit of front end.”
Hinchcliffe said he was fortunate that his brush of the Turn 4 wall with the right-side tires didn’t cause much damage, if any.
“I hit pretty hard,” he said.
On Lap 178, the cars of Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal came together approaching Turn 3, and it was a scramble for those drivers trailing. Hinchcliffe was one of those. Felix Rosenqvist and Zach Veach spun, collecting Charlie Kimball, and Hinchcliffe was able to sneak through the middle.
“I was slowing down but (Ryan) Hunter-Reay also slowed at the same time and he was low (on the track) so I couldn’t go there,” Hinchcliffe said. “After Charlie spun, he rolled back just enough for us to sneak through the middle – a little too close for comfort, but we got through it.”
Be sure to catch the instructions Hinchcliffe's spotter, Bobby Dalzell, gave as the accident was developing.
"Get low, get low, get low, get low," Dalzell said. "Stop it, stop, stop, stop, stop. Through the middle, through the middle, through the middle, through the middle. Right, right. There you go; good job. … Yeah, good job."
Watch the highlights of Hinchcliffe’s race: