Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Canadian Wins Grand Prix

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Canadian Wins Grand Prix

Article excerpt


ST. PETERSBURG: 1.1 second margin of victory for Hinchcliffe

A rising star finally arrived on the IZOD IndyCar Series.

And another tribute to Dan Wheldon was made.

James Hinchcliffe was missing something from his resume. He got it on the bayfront street circuit when he outlasted Helio Castroneves to win the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday.

It took two years and 32 races, but the 26-year-old Canadian finally got his first career win. He is the first Canadian driver to win in IndyCar in nearly six years.

"Everyone was asking me what it was going to take to finally become a winner," Hinchcliffe said. "I just said minimizing mistakes, no mistakes in the pits, no mistakes on the track and we capitalized from Helio making some mistakes. Just put our heads down and did it."

Paul Tracy was the last Canadian to win in what's now the IZOD IndyCar Series, taking the checkered flag at the Grand Prix of Cleveland in 2007.

Team owner Michael Andretti saw Hinchcliffe drive for Newman- Haas in 2011. But when that team closed its doors, Hinchcliffe was looking for a ride.

He got it just before this race last year, where he finished fourth.

"He's good on street circuits in general," Andretti said. "It's part of it, but in the end he's really quick everywhere and he doesn't have a weakness."

Castroneves, who was in line to win this race for the fourth time in nine runnings of this race, made a rare mistake on the final restart with 26 laps to go. He hit the brakes too late and opened the door for the Canadian.

"I'm thinking, 'He has 30 laps to get this back,' and we were saving a bit of fuel," Hinchcliffe said. "We just have to ride it out and come out swinging next time."

As the last of the 110 laps ticked down, Hinchcliffe still led. He thought it was sealed with four laps to go, and he won by about 1.1 seconds.

"To hold Helio off for that long took a lot out of me," Hinchcliffe said. "We just didn't make any mistakes."

Team owner Michael Andretti thought it was done with 10 to go.

Last year Castroneves did his victory celebration in Turn 10 where Dan Wheldon Way was dedicated. …

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