Following a weekend that saw IZOD IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe from winning the pole for the Indianapolis 500 by 23 ten-thousandths of a second - or 9.186 inches - to Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, Hinchcliffe has put aside the pain and is focused on winning the prestigious Borg-Warner Trophy.
Hinchcliffe, who will start second in Sunday's Indianapolis 500, has been the early-season surprise in the IZOD IndyCar Series. In his first season with Andretti Autosport, Hinchcliffe enters this weekend's race with confidence as he sits third in the point standings.
"I feel very prepared from the fact that my team has done such a good job with these cars," Hinchcliffe said. "I feel like the cars are top notch and the experience from last year is certainly going to come into effect. At the end of the day it's almost like we're all rookies on Sunday."
Hinchcliffe's success comes as no surprise. Last year he earned Rookie of the Year honors while driving for Newman/Haas Racing. He tallied 12 top-10 finishes and finished 12th in the final standings.
The new DW12 Dallara chassis has presented a challenge to IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, including Hinchcliffe. The month of May has proved to be a learning experience, but ultimately it will not compare to race conditions.
"The most difficult thing to adjust to is just the way the car races. Especially at Indy. We're seeing guys being able to run up on guys so much faster. It's like the last five or six car lengths of a draft you get an after burner. We've got to be very heads up and very patient. It's almost going to drive sort of like a short track I think during the race, but passing is going to be very possible and it's going to be a race about timing."
The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 550 on Saturday, June 9. The race is part of a double-header evening which includes the Hoon Kaboom Texas Global Rallycross Championship event. For tickets, contact the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.