IndyCar Iowa: James Hinchcliffe takes win in bizarre finish

Tom Errington
Autosport
Hinchcliffe wins in bizarre Iowa finish
Hinchcliffe wins in bizarre Iowa finish

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe took his first IndyCar victory in over a year in baffling fashion at Iowa.

Hinchcliffe made what appeared to be the decisive move for victory with 40 laps remaining of the 300, sweeping to the inside line to pass long-time race leader Josef Newgarden.

But Hinchcliffe had to make a race-deciding call in the final six laps when Ed Carpenter began to spin before Takuma Sato clattered into Carpenter and straightened him out, with the caution thrown for debris.

Hinchcliffe chose not to pit when the full-course caution was called, unlike nearest rival Newgarden, but the pace car took the field to the chequered flag before a restart could take place.

That meant Newgarden threw away a podium place, ending up fourth.

Hinchcliffe's deserved win came despite Newgarden dominating the majority of the race after deposing polesitting team-mate Will Power early on.

But Hinchcliffe built his platform for victory after a strong opening stint lifted him from 11th on the gird to fifth within the first 18 laps.

It took just under another 30 laps for him to join the battle up front, passing polesitter Power for second and following Newgarden.

Newgarden and Hinchcliffe were evenly matched on stints, able to complete 80 laps comfortably on both fuel and tyres, along with the highly impressive Spencer Pigot in his first IndyCar race at Iowa.

In the second phase of a three-stop strategy, it became increasingly clear that Hinchcliffe's SPM-run car became quicker late on in the stints and was better suited to the traffic the short Iowa lap is famous for.

That advantage paid off when he finally passed Newgarden for the lead and cantered comfortably clear of his rival before Carpenter's caution sealed Hinchcliffe's first win since Long Beach last year.

The late drama elevated Spencer Pigot to second place, his first IndyCar podium after largely matching the stint length of Hinchcliffe and Newgarden throughout.

Despite the collision with Carpenter, Sato maintained third to round out the podium positions ahead of Newgarden.

Hinchcliffe's team-mate Robert Wickens looked set for a podium place before he gambled on fresh tyres when Carpenter caused the caution, instead finishing fifth.

Penske's Power never recovered from losing the lead to Newgarden early on and took sixth.

Simon Pagenaud also failed to make up ground, falling from a starting position of fourth to eighth at the flag.

Alexander Rossi's hopes of fighting for the win ending when he stalled after exiting his pitbox following his first stop.

Having been initially classified 10th at the flag, Rossi was promoted to ninth ahead of Carpenter as the race results were determined from the positions on lap 298 of 300.

Sebastien Bourdais continually ran the longest stints of any driver to finish 11th, meaning he only made up four places from his grid slot.

Championship leader Scott Dixon had a difficult first stint in which he struggled to feel confidence in his Chip Ganassi Racing-run machine and finished 12th ahead of team-mate Ed Jones.

Serial Iowa winner Ryan Hunter-Reay had been a continual presence in the top five but suffered a broken toe-link that dropped him out of contention before he eventually retired late on with what Andretti called an "issue in the rear of his car".

Result

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Laps

Gap

1

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

300

1h47m32.4666s

2

Spencer Pigot

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

300

2.6491s

3

Takuma Sato

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

300

3.2506s

4

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

300

4.5296s

5

Robert Wickens

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

300

6.3214s

6

Will Power

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

299

1 Lap

7

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

299

1 Lap

8

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

299

1 Lap

9

Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

298

2 Laps

10

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

298

2 Laps

11

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

297

3 Laps

12

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

296

4 Laps

13

Ed Jones

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

295

5 Laps

14

Charlie Kimball

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

295

5 Laps

15

Max Chilton

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

294

6 Laps

16

Marco Andretti

Andretti Herta

Dallara/Honda

293

7 Laps

17

Tony Kanaan

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

292

8 Laps

18

Zachary Claman

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

291

9 Laps

19

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

283

Mechanical

20

Zach Veach

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

279

21 Laps

21

Gabby Chaves

Harding Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

99

Handling

22

Matheus Leist

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

40

Mechanical

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