James Hinchcliffe Wins at Iowa Speedway to Lead All-Chevrolet Podium in Race 10 of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Season

Story posted - Jun 24 2013 10:45 AM

James Hinchcliffe Wins at Iowa Speedway to Lead All-Chevrolet Podium in Race 10 of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Season
Helio Castroneves Maintains Lead in Point Standings

NEWTON, IOWA – (June 23, 2013) – For the third time this season, James Hinchcliffe drove his way from the green flag to victory lane. Starting on the outside of the front row for the Iowa Corn Indy 250, the pilot of the No. 27 GoDaddy Andretti Autosport Chevrolet took the lead for the final time on lap 217 of the 250-lap race to capture his career-first victory on an oval track, his third career IZOD IndyCar Series victory, his third win of the 2013 season and the fourth consecutive race at Iowa Speedway won by an Andretti Autosport driver.

Hinchcliffe, who led for a total of 226 laps around the 0.875-mile oval track, beat his Andretti Autosport teammate, defending Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, to the finish by 1.5009 seconds. Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, No. 11 Sunoco "Turbo" KV Racing Technology – SH Racing Chevrolet, finished third to make it an all-Chevrolet IndyCar V6 driver podium for the third consecutive race. A total of eight Team Chevy drivers scored top-10 finishes today: Ed Carpenter finished fourth; Oriol Servia was seventh at the checkered flag; Helio Castroneves finished eighth; Marco Andretti was ninth and EJ Viso finished in 10th position.

"Team Chevy continues to carry the winning momentum and depth with another strong result securing eight of the top 10 finishing positions at Iowa Speedway today," said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IZOD IndyCar Series. "Congratulations to James Hinchcliffe and Andretti Autosport for netting the 3rd win of the season for James and the GoDaddy crew. Leading the majority of the race, James showed he had the setup for the day and the skills to drive it to the checker. Sweeping the podium for the third race weekend in a row, and the fifth of the season, is a great accomplishment and propels our Team Chevy drivers to accumulate points in the driver's championship. We look forward to bringing IndyCar racing back to Pocono in two weeks after a well-deserved weekend off."

With nine races remaining in the season, Chevrolet continues to lead the IZOD IndyCar Series Manufacturers' Point Standings. Through the first 10 races, Chevrolet drivers have scored seven poles and seven victories. Team Chevy drivers hold the top-five in the championship standings: Helio Castroneves leads with 332 points followed by Hunter-Reay with 323 points; Andretti sits third in the standings with 277 markers; Hinchcliffe jumped to a fourth place total of 266 points and Kanaan in fifth with 253 points.

Next on the schedule is the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on Sunday, July 7th at famed Pocono Raceway. Live coverage will be on ABC TV starting at Noon ET.

AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, MICHAEL ANDRETTI, RYAN HUNTER-REAY AND TONY KANAANSunday, June 23, 2013 – Iowa Speedway

THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by our race winner, James Hinchcliffe. This is the third win of the 2013 season for James, his first at Iowa.

James, before today, you had led 99 laps total; today, 226. Talk about today's race and the win.

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Yeah, I mean, it's pretty incredible. In St. Pete, I led the last 20; in Brazil, like the last hundred feet, and here, today, to do what we did, we got Will on lap one there and really never looked back. The car was solid.

Yesterday, we knew we didn't have the car to win yesterday in the heat races, so I sat with Craig and the engineers and we decided to kind of take a swing at it and put a little aggressive setup on it.

There was obviously a lot of unknowns with the weather. It was cooler than we thought it was going to be. Obviously the rain throws a wrench into it, but when we needed it, the car was awesome. We were fast out front by ourselves. We were good in traffic. We didn't have a whole lot of yellows to contend with, which I think was really good for us.

Obviously we had the one restart with Graham, which was the biggest moment of the race but had fun racing with him there and just so proud of these guys. They have got such a good track record here, Marco in '11 and Ryan and '12, and me now; and its Go Daddy's hometown, where they started so to get a win here is extra special and it's just nice to keep our season getting back on track.

Q. What is it specifically about the short oval package that has allowed four different Andretti Autosport drivers in four straight years to win here?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Well, I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you, and none of us want that; there's too much paperwork. It's funny, because obviously the team was good here before the new car came out, before the W12, and to be able to continue that kind of success with a new car; and a lot of the success the team had at night and track conditions are very, very different at night.

So to come here during a day race and still be able to have a strong showing. I mean, look at Ryan. That's probably the more impressive drive of the race was from where he started to finish second. There's clearly a philosophy on the team that works well, and having four guys that work so well together makes races like this where we have so little practice time, just one session before qualifying, it makes it a huge advantage for us. And the chemistry between us and the ability to work well together, it shows on track on Sunday.

Q. Describe what that dynamic is going to be like, not only are you battling for the championship, but you're going to be doing it with your teammates.

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Yeah, I mean, that's obviously going to be a more complicated question in five or six races. We still have nine to go, and there's still a lot to play for.

But certainly, when you're coming to the home stretch of the season and you have teammates running together, you know, I would like to think that we are all going to run each other fair and we are going to continue to work as well together as we can, because what you have to remember, it's not just us in this championship.

And if we start battling each other internally off track, then the other guys are going to catch up and pass us, and then we are fighting over second, third and fourth. That's not what we want to do. We want to back up Ryan's championship last year and bring another one home for Andretti Autosport, and I think we all know that the team is greater than one guy and we all have to work together to try and achieve that.

THE MODERATOR: No rest for you, I believe you're off testing?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Yeah, I have to catch a plane now and head to Pennsylvania. We are testing at Pocono which everybody is excited for. Yeah, we are excited for a weekend off. It's been about two straight months on the road between Brazil, Indy and this five race stretch.

So to go you say we have a break now, but we are straight testing on Tuesday and then we finally get a weekend off. New track for us, obviously everybody is very excited about that. We had strong cars at Indy and this is another Super Speedway and hopefully that translates, but there's a lot to learn there.

So I'm glad we are getting the chance to go somewhere new. We always like a new challenge.

Q. You entered the season trying to get your first career victory and now you have three; is it a matter of kicking the door in and you just come charging through.

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Well, it's funny, you know because people, all last year and the off season, people say things like: Oh, you know, once you get your first one, they all just kind of come; it becomes way easier after that. And they clearly haven't tried running an IndyCar race, because it's not easy under any circumstances, no matter how many you've won.

I remember after St. Pete people were saying: Oh, yeah, they will just come now. And I'm thinking, race two at Barber, we completed all three laps and watched the rest of it from the side of the track. I'm like, well, that didn't quite go as everybody says it was gonna.

It was incredible to be here now, three wins in and that first one is so hard to get. But if you look at the record books, there are a lot of guys that have one win, and a pretty big factor, smaller that have won, two, smaller factor again that have won three, then it kind of goes up exponentially from there of guys that have had more than that. It's nice to be chalking a few up.

But at the same time, these races are so hard to win. You've got to be with a good crew, good car, good put pits, call it right, drive smart and have some luck. That's all part of it.

And you can't take anything to are granted. You can't assume you're in a good position, because there are legitimately 12 guys any weekend that can win a race, and you just never know if you'll ever win another one.

Will used to tell me that and I used to laugh at him, because that's when he was winning six races a year; it's just so true, and in an environment this competitive, you just never know.

We are enjoying what we have got now and the success we've had, but we have got to keep our heads down and work harder than ever if we want to get back up here.

Q. After having won three races, nobody else having performed that well this season but still running fourth in the points, how does that set up your plan for the remainder of the season?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: We obviously kick it off with a bang, had two DNFs and another win and then had a couple bad races in Indy and Detroit. After Detroit, we really just said, all right, look, guys, we have to get our momentum back and we have to get that MoJo going again. At Texas, solid top 10; Milwaukee, solid top 5 and obviously here back at the top step. I think that's just the momentum shift that we needed.

We are not going to be in a position to win every race, we know that but I think that we have found our way into finishing where we have to on the day you've got a ninth place car, finish ninth. It's a lot better than wrecking and going for eight.

I think the team has got a lot of confidence in each other and themselves and now we can just try and rip off some consistent results because you look at Marco and you look at Helio, I've got more wins than anybody, but those guys are ahead of me because they have been more consistent.

Q. You said at St. Pete trying for that first victory, you were dreaming up scenario, how am I going to lose this; how is it different today after you've had a couple wins and you're out in front for so much of the race?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: It was even worse because that much longer in the lead and more time to think of things that would go wrong.

Obviously the first stint went pretty well for us and getting the lead early I think was important for us, because clean air is king, and we were able to get through traffic. When we first came up on traffic, that was going to be the first big test, the first 20, 30 laps, whatever it was, didn't really mean much, because anybody running by themselves up front was going to be good. It's when we got into lap traffic that was going to make a difference.

And every time I came up on a lap car that was going to be the car that was going to screw it up for us. Luckily we didn't have many cautions. When you are leading and have a good pace, you don't want to see those, but every time we did, it was, oh, well, this is the restart that's going to do us in; or every pit stop, I'm going to spit coming off turn two, get back up to speed or something.

We did have a couple close calls. Like I said we went aggressive with the setup and the car was very loose at certain parts of that race, and then the last ten laps picked up this freak understeer, I thought the tire was going down and I was on the radio asking if the pressure was all right how far is Ryan, and I'm thinking, ten to go, really? You're going to let me lead 200 laps to take it away now.

But luckily the gap was enough and I made sure I just controlled the lap at the end. I didn't want to catch that group because as soon as you're in dirty air with old tires, the car falls apart a little bit, and luckily we had the gas to run we needed.

Q. In all your years of racing, have you ever dominated as well as you have today? JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: I mean, I can't think of a race. A few races of Lights that I led from pole but either a third of the distance or there's no pit stops, restarts are a much different deal, they were not double file back then.

So, no, I watched guy win races like this on TV and my whole career, I thought, I just don't get it, like how do they do that. I've never been in that position. And now, I know: You have to have a hell of a good car, a hell of a good crew and just hit your marks all afternoon long.

I'm just so pleased that we are able to do everybody performed. If it was the guys in the pits, the setup, me and my spotter making good decisions out on the racetrack, and, man, it feels good to do it like that.

THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by Michael Andretti of Andretti Autosport, our winning team owner, this is the consecutive one, two finish for Andretti Autosport at Iowa. Just talk about the great season your team is having.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, it's just been a great year. We work really hard, and all that hard work is paying off. We are working great as a team. All four cars are communicating very well and all four drivers and engineers and everything, and you know, it's like I've been saying and preaching all year. That's where we are getting our results and it's been awesome.

As for coming here to Iowa, hope they never take this race off the schedule. You know, it's just been such a great race since the moment it made the schedule. It's a great racetrack. We have great fans that come out and support it, and I hope it stays on the schedule for a long time.

Q. Ryan said that he thinks that your guys have particularly figured out the short ovals, but it's not the only place that your cars seem to do really well. I asked you at the beginning of the season what the dynamic is rolling behind the team. What would you say is the great strength of the program right now? Where is the really great focus?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I think just what I just said before; I think the focus is on team and team work. IndyCar Racing is very tough, because you get very little track time. You don't get the test. You barely get any practice on a race weekend. So, you know, getting information is very important, and you need to get good, accurate information, and you need to have information that you can trust, and that's what we have with all four cars that are out there running all the time. We are getting four cars of data, and the four drivers and four engineers all work together and trust each other, and so we are getting four times the work done than if you had one car out there.

I think that's the biggest thing. I don't think it's anything else than that. I don't think we have any tricks or anything like that. Just good, hard work and good team work.

Q. Next race is Pocono and that's really when the championship gets even tighter. Can you foresee, you're looking at two, three guys battling for the championship.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Boy, I hope you're right. Or three that they are battling that one pain in the butt out there, that Penske car (laughter).

Q. But forecast what these races are going to be like in terms of one of your drivers trying to break away in the championship.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I mean, hopefully all the ones that are in the championship now, especially the three with James and Marco and Ryan, that they just continue to finish races and continue to get points; and races like today where Marco didn't have a great car but he still came home ninth and got some important points and that's what it's going to take.

We just have to hope we finish the year without any problems with the cars and all three of them, if we do that, I think one of them has a chance at winning the championship.

Having said that, guys like Helio, with his experience and everything, it's going to be really difficult and he's going to make it go right down to the wire, I can assure you. But it's always nice to have more than one bullet in the gun, and right now we have three real legitimate shots at winning the championship.

Q. James didn't have a win coming into the season, and now has three in ten starts. Can you talk a little about how he's grown as a driver here in 2013?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, it's just really come together. You know, just a matter of time for James. He showed great brilliance last year in a lot of races and even races before and other teams that he's been with.

We all knew he had potential. It's always one of those deals, you get that first one and it seems like the next one comes a little bit easier because you have that confidence to know that you can do it, and I think that's where James is right now.

He's had a weird year, for sure, where he's been feast or famine; he either wins or he has problems. But he knows he's capable of winning, and you know, if he can just hopefully get through all his problems and continue to do what he's doing, I think he has a good shot at the championship.

Q. With races back to back, I know everybody is tired but does it help to come from a one mile oval like Milwaukee to come here?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Honestly, I don't think it really matters. I don't think it really does, because it's the same amount of work between getting the cars ready for each event that really, it's not a big thing.

I think maybe for your thought process; you can continue thinking the same way as you did the week before, that makes it a little nicer. But in the end, it's not a big difference. THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, you finished second. This is the second consecutive podium finish for Ryan at Iowa.

Ryan, the race today, obviously a little issue that brought you all the way back to 21, 22, to be able to bounce back to second, especially with the lap traffic out there, talk about today's race.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, it was so challenging out there today. Just had a lot of imbalance in the first stint. I just had a lot of understeer and really had to push to get by Graham (Rahal), and I just kept my foot in it trying to pop right out of the corner, and when I did I was right under his gear box. I just had no downforce on the front wing and when I turned it, there goes the front wing. It's that easy to make a mistake.

Had great day, had a lot of fun, got angry a few times because of some lap cars that were just racing a little too hard. But it was a really good day, good points, to finish second after being dead last. And yesterday we had a nightmare of a day as well. So really happy that we were able to bring the No. 1 DHL Chevy home in second. Would have liked the repeat but once again, the Andretti cars were the cars to beat here at Iowa.

Q. You passed more cars today than anybody else on the track, so just how difficult was that and how much did you have to pace yourself to be able to systematically get your way backup?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, definitely had to pace myself, because it was difficult. Like Tony said, with these cars, the underlying characteristic is that they want to understeer quite a bit right in the run, right. So half inaudible tires to the end, it's very difficult, if somebody is running an optimum line that you're working with, and somebody that you're trying to pass is running that line, it can take you 20, 25 laps to even get a shot at them.

It was a difficult day, I had to be patient at times and overly aggressive at others. I had a really good day and I had really good car. It's a bummer when you have that good of a car and you come home second, but considering we came from the back of the pack to finish second in such a tight field, I have to be happy about that, or pleased about it, I should say. Q. Big picture, what do you think this looks like to people who are watching it? You have a few that's different than we have, but what do you think it looks like to us?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: What?

Q. All the mixing and exchanging of positions and dive bombs.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: We look like a bunch of nuts out there, quite a few anyway.

I'm sure with an action packed race it was so busy. I think I had a clear track twice, and during that time, it felt like I was on vacation, it was so nice, and then you get back into the rough stuff and just dicing it you have and lap cars coming and then you have a guy for position or behind you while you have two cars in front of you for lap traffic, it was just nuts. That's what's great about this race. I really enjoy I think the night race is really great here. I think we put on a great show during the day, but I think in the end, more people come out at night for this race.

Q. First and second today; what is it about the Andretti cars that they run so strong here?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: We just figured out the short oval package, you know. Unfortunately the 28 team, or the No. 1 team that you're talking about, the No. 1, 28, we've won five I think of the last short ovals, dating back to New Hampshire, Milwaukee, Iowa, Milwaukee. So we came close to doing it again here, but they gave the drivers a great short oval car.

This track, you can see that everybody is very evenly matched when you're on new tires, because the imbalances in the car are not showing and when everybody starts sliding around, that's when the Andretti cars go to the front. We just have great set up and definitely have to credit the engineering staff and the crew at Andretti for giving us those cars. THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by Tony Kanaan. This is Tony's fourth consecutive podium finish here at Iowa. Talk about that great race. There were tons of battles going on for position all day.

THE MODERATOR: This is Tony's fourth consecutive podium finish Iowa. Talk about that great race. There was tons of battles going on for position all day.

TONY KANAAN: I wonder why people think, why do I love Iowa so much. Yeah, it was an interesting race. I think in the beginning, we had some temperature issue on the car, so on the first stop, we took a little bit of extra time. Some debris got into the side, so we kind of had to take one piece off the oil heater that we had it on to cool the engine, so we lost five positions there. And track position was so important today, that it cost us the entire race to go back to where we were.

So on the last yellow, when I asked Jimmy where we were, we were only like 11th and there was only like three cars behind me on the same lap. I said: Why don't we pit, put new tires on, we are going to have an advantage. I think I can make it up, because a lot of people, because of the nature of the track and the downforce that we have, better tires were always going to help. And then we went off sequence and that's what helped us at the end of the race.

I'm excited. It's funny, every time we have the Sunoco car this year, I finish on the podium, so going to have convince them to have a full car every race. But it was a great race for us.

Q. That battle you had with Graham Rahal looked pretty good there, it was pretty close. How fierce and intense was that? TONY KANAAN: It was intense. Obviously he has not had a great year, so he was fighting for the podium position. And he fought a little bit too hard in my opinion, but I take it, I think this is racing. It's not he gave me room; at times he didn't, but we managed to pass him. So it was a hard race. He's a good driver. He made his car extremely wide. So it was a good battle.

Q. Traffic is always tough here but talk about the traffic here in this race today.

TONY KANAAN: I mean, it's the shortest track we go. We are going to have traffic every lap. People are going to get mad. People are going to get you know, say, oh, you should let me by, you should do this. But you know what, at the end of the race, we are racing. And even the lap cars are racing some lap cars, as well.

So it was tough. There were people there that were hanging in there for their life so they could only run one lane and sometimes it happened to be your lane, as well. So it is what it is.

And it's such a short track; if you start letting people by every lap, after ten laps, you're going to have to let the same people by again. It's tough. But I think it's part of what makes this race here very exciting. So it is what it is.

I'm not a big fan of complaining about traffic, because, you know, it is what it is.

Q. Do you particularly like you must like going into turn three and just taking whoever is on the outside and just making him go further outside; you really dive down low, much lower than most people. Is that one of your favorite parts of the corner? TONY KANAAN: It is, and then funny that you picked on that, because I think my best move on the race was when I passed Marco there, you know.

I think because of the nature of the cars today, a lot of people don't go down low like that because you actually have a tendency to understeer. My car was actually pretty good there. And once you dive in that early, the barking kind of help you in the middle of the corner and a lot of people didn't realize that, and I think in the race, that helped me a lot.

I made a lot of passes, because a lot of the guys were choosing to run high going into that corner, and you know, running low, I had the grip and I had the clear air. So it was definitely a good place to be.

THE MODERATOR: Just looking ahead to our next race, is obviously Pocono, you're in the Sunoco car, it's a new track and you're going for the Triple Crown. Any thoughts about that as we head there?

TONY KANAAN: I haven't been there. I'm going to test there on Tuesday.

So I'm excited. I've always heard good things about Pocono. Obviously when I drove for Michael Andretti, it was a track that they had a lot of success, it was close to their house and I even heard that Michael had a helicopter crash on the way there once. So I've heard about the track a lot.

I'm excited. Obviously I'm the only one that has a chance to win the Triple Crown, so the pressure is on us, but I'm excited. I can't wait to go there on Tuesday and check the track out and see how it looks like.

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