Photo: Chris Owens/IndyCar

IndyCar 2017 Driver Preview – James Hinchcliffe

By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter

Age: 30

Years in IndyCar: 6

Wins: 4

Podiums: 11

Laps led: 641

2016-17 Team: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

James Hinchcliffe is another driver looking for that little bit more in 2017.

The 30-year-old native from Oakville, Ontario returned to the cockpit in 2016 after suffering near-fatal injuries at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 2015 and came back stronger than ever.

He was consistently one of the quicker Hondas throughout the year and qualified in the top 10 ten times. He easily gave us one of the best stories of the year when he captured the pole for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

The Month of May was solid for Hinchcliffe as he finished third at the IndyCar Grand Prix on the road course and finished seventh at the 500 after leading 27 laps.

He dominated the rain-delayed Firestone 600 at the Texas Motor Speedway leading 188 laps but was overtaken by Graham Rahal on the final lap and came up .008 of a second short.

Another highlight was finishing third in his home race at Toronto, Ontario.

A higher finish than 13th in the points could have been possible, but an accident on the first lap in the second Detroit Duel and running out of gas on the last lap while running second at Watkins Glen hurt his chances.

He also moonlighted in ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and ended up finishing second.

After a full year with SPM, we can expect to see even more out of Hinchcliffe in 2016.

He meshed well with renowned engineer Allen McDonald and the team has a good baseline for the upcoming season. Coming back to the same tracks knowing where to start gives the team a boost.

SPM has consistently been one of the top Honda teams. While we can expect Andretti Autosport to close that gap in 2017, SPM is not going to go down without a fight.

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Josh Farmer joined the media center in 2012 after first discovering his love of IndyCar racing in 2004 at Auto Club Speedway. He has been an accredited member of the IndyCar media center since 2014 and also contributes to IndyCar.com along with The Motorsports Tribune.

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