By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
James Hinchcliffe scored his first Verizon IndyCar Series victory in nearly two years at Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after holding on after two late restarts and speeding away from Sebastien Bourdais.
The Canadian was able to parlay a two stop strategy to the lead after staying out a lap later than Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was leading at the time he made his final pit stop. The No. 5 ARROW Electronics Honda led the final 27 laps to give Schmidt Peterson Motorsports their first victory of the season.
Bourdais held onto second and Josef Newgarden completed the podium.
The race began with a lap 1 caution after contact between Charlie Kimball’s Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and Will Power’s Team Penske Chevrolet that resulted in Kimball’s retirement. After a brief yellow to clear the accident, Marco Andretti became the next victim of attrition after a failing sensor led to the engine quitting, and attempts to restart were unsuccessful.
Andretti Autosport’s misery was only multiplied as Alexander Rossi retired from a possible podium position with a mechanical failure on Lap 62, bringing out a caution and giving everyone a hard run to the finish without fuel saving.
To further compound the Andretti team’s bad day, Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay both retired within two laps of each other on Laps 78 and 79, respectively, bringing out the final full course yellow of the race.
Hinchcliffe was able to maintain the lead despite a late race restart and captured his first street course victory since Sao Paulo 2013.
Other notables include Simon Pagenaud, who overcame a penalty in qualifying which left him starting last but ended the day finishing fifth. Along with seventh-place finisher Carlos Munoz.
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach: Unofficial Results