By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
After a disastrous 2015, James Hinchcliffe is glad to be back behind the wheel of his No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda.
Hinchcliffe, 29, was severely injured in a practice crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last May in preparation for the 99th Indianapolis 500. Reports then surfaced that the injuries were life-threatening and the result of the crash was due to a confirmed suspension failure.
The Canadian would fight back in the following months with the hopes of returning, but all the while Hinchcliffe was forced to see a rotation of drivers pilot his Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports machine.
Just four months after that frightful crash, Hinchcliffe returned to his Indy car cockpit on September 28, 2015 for an IndyCar Series test at Road America.
The affable Canadian has continued his climb ever since with the series returning to Phoenix International Raceway with a test ahead of Phoenix Grand Prix on April 2nd. The two-day test is half over with only Saturday’s session left to complete.
During Friday’s testing Hinchcliffe started off slow, but by the end of the second practice he soared to fourth overall on the time sheets with a time of 19.6975 (186.785 mph).
“It feels like the first day in school,” Hinchcliffe said in an INDYCAR release. “We traveled to some races in the second half of the year. I still felt like a little bit of an outsider because I wasn’t doing my job. To now be back here and be back in the car with everybody, it’s great to see all those familiar faces again.
“I’ve been driving the car. Obviously testing and driving an Indy car is phenomenal always, but it’s competition that you really miss after a while. It’s nice to be back here with a bunch of cars on track and get sort of those competitive juices flowing again.”
The long road back won’t be complete for ‘The Mayor of Hinchtown’ until the series kicks off the 2016 season at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 13th, when championship points and a quest for the IndyCar crown begins.
Image: Chris Jones/INDYCAR