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Tough Day From Start to Finish for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at Detroit

 
Detroit, MI – June 5, 2016 – The second Chevrolet Dual in Detroit race on Sunday afternoon proved to be as disappointing as the first when Schmidt Peterson Motorsports drivers Mikhail Aleshin and James Hinchcliffe finished 17th and 22nd, respectively, on the streets of Belle Isle, Michigan.
 
Earlier on Sunday, the full field was split into two, 12-minute qualifying groups with the fastest lap earning the pole. Aleshin, in the first group, finished third with a time of 1:14.7256. Hinchcliffe finished seventh in the second group with a time of 1:15.5692. These qualifying efforts put them fifth and fourteenth on the starting grid for the second race.
 
Just as the Verizon IndyCar Series field was given the green flag, Hinchcliffe was pushed into the wall in a three-wide domino effect. SPM was told that the car sustained too much damage and the No. 5 was pushed behind the wall, where the crew couldn’t access it for the duration of the race. He would finish 22nd.
 
“A silly racing incident ruined our day,” said Hinchcliffe. “The Arrow Electronics car had a reasonable start. Charlie Kimball and Carlos Munoz were going at it and we were just victims of circumstance there. So, there’s not a whole lot to say. When you start back there, you open yourself up to stuff like that. 
 
“In the future, we will focus on making sure we don’t start back there: start up front, finish up front like we should and that way we’re not back in the mess. It’s just an unfortunate missed opportunity because the car was quick all weekend and we’ve got two races with very little to show for it. I’m gutted for the guys and everyone at Arrow but if we know how to do one thing, it’s come back, so we will be back at Texas next week stronger than ever.”
 
The first four laps of the race were yellow due to the incident. As soon as green-flag racing resumed, Aleshin regained the spots he had lost at the start and was running in fifth. On lap 15, the Russian driver received a blocking call and was forced to give up one position. At that point, his red tires were starting to fall off, so the crew called him in for a pit stop. Another stop on lap 30 was aimed at giving him some clean track and allowing him to run hard.
 
With one additional planned stop, Aleshin had his sights set on a top-ten finish, but a problem with his seat belts forced him to pit one additional time. He finished the race in 17th place.
 
“Another disappointing day for us here in Detroit,” said Aleshin. “I think the SMP Racing and DOOM car was good, good enough to fight for the top ten, but we just had some bad luck with my seat belts at the end. We’re just going to put this weekend behind us and get ready for Texas.”

In less than one week, the Verizon IndyCar Series heads South for the ninth race of the 2016 season. The Firestone 600 will take place under the lights of Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The 248-lap competition will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network and tickets are available online at www.TexasMotorSpeedway.com.