James Hinchcliffe, IndyCar, Indianapolis, 2018

Hinchcliffe abandons efforts to get into Indy 500


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James Hinchcliffe announces he has ‘stopped pursuing options’ to compete in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 having failed to qualify for the race.

The Schmidt Peterson racer, who started the 2016 race from pole position, made the announcement on social media.

“Barring unforeseen circumstances I will not be racing in the Indy 500 this year,” said Hinchcliffe.

“The decision was made to stop pursuing options to get us in the race. There really aren’t words to describe how missing this race feels. At the end of the day we simply didn’t get the job done. No excuses.”

Hinchcliffe was bumped out of the field in qualifying on Saturday. He fell out of the top 33 late in the session and had to pit with a wheel balance problem when he went out for a final run. He then ran out of time to make another attempt to qualify.

Driver replacements are allowed under articles 4.3.3 and of the Official IndyCar Rule Book which states: “Provided IndyCar approves the substitution and the change takes place prior to the parade and pace laps, the original driver entered for the race may be substituted by […] another driver who has already participated in practice, or a special session for the current event.”

Hinchcliffe’s team has three other cars in the race including full-time IndyCar racer Robert Wickens and part-timers Jack Harvey and Jay Howard. Hinchcliffe’s announcement confirms none of them will have to give up their place for him.

“This is our reality and we will face it head on, we will use it as motivation and we will come back stronger,” said Hinchcliffe. “We have a great team, incredible partners and the best fans, all who have been so supportive through this.

“I’m sorry we can’t be on track for you Sunday, but we will be pushing hard for the wins in Detroit. I wish all 33 drivers a fast and safe race. I’ll be watching and cheering on my SPM team mates. See you in Detroit.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Hinchcliffe abandons efforts to get into Indy 500”

  1. Especially with IndyCar Series point system where each driver starting gets points as well as double points for Indy 500, this will affect his championship fight much more than DNQ did so for Bobby Rahal in 1993 or Penske drivers in 1995.

    But a big respect to Hinchcliffe for not taking the spot that didn’t belong to him.

  2. A true sportsman. I am sure he could have pulled some strings, stepped on some toes, but he does not have it in his ego to crush someone else’s dream for his own glory. A true Canadian earns what they get, good or bad.

    1. I hate to dissapoint you but this decision is above his pay grade.

  3. Big hat-tip to whomever made and stood by this decision – Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson or both.

    I still remember the incredulity I felt when Ferrari broke the gearbox seal on Massa’s car just to demote him behind Alonso, thereby moving Alonso to the clean side of the grid (I think at the inaugural US GP, or one of the earliest ones there).

    That’s quite the difference in team culture.

    1. @phylyp True, so true. I don’t know who made this decision, but it was the right one.

  4. Impressive & difficult decision

  5. It’s a bummer, but bumping had been part of the 500 forever.

  6. Tough time for Hinch. He was almost beat by part time go kart racer Pippa.

  7. petebaldwin (@)
    24th May 2018, 12:35

    It’s clearly the right decision so well done to whoever made the call. As someone said above, putting him in now in place of someone else would demonstrate Ferrari-levels of unsporting behaviour and no-one wants to see that in the Indy 500.

    1. It’s happened before many times and if entrant numbers keep rising, I’m sure it will happen again. Last time being 2011 where RHR failed to qualify and Andretti bought a qualified car from Foyt for the race. So instead of Bruno Junqueira starting 19th, Ryan started last.

  8. And they just fired Leena. That was pathetic from SPM to fire her just because 1 race….

  9. Seems like a strange rule that a driver who didn’t qualify on merit can be swapped for someone who did. Is it an old rule from a bygone era that was never changed, or is it so the big names can always get on the grid?
    How far does it go – could a pay driver who DNQ’d pay Ed Carpenter’s team to swap with him and start on pole?

    1. Not exactly. The car qualifies and not the driver, but if the driver of a qualified car is replaced the car moves to the back of the field. Using your example, if Ed carpenter was replaced, then the car is still qualified for the race but would start last (though for bumping purposes would retain the speed it qualified at)

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