Toronto, Ontario – July 17, 2016 – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) driver James Hinchcliffe earned a season-best, third-place finish and was the top Honda on the streets of Toronto, just a short drive from his hometown of Oakville, Ontario.
Hinchcliffe started the race in sixth and spent the first half of the 85-lap race battling balance issues with the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car. Strategy is what ultimately lead to the podium finish, as Hinchcliffe’s engineers took a chance on fuel. Three full-course yellows in the second half of the race made it possible for the Canadian driver to cross the finish line in front of his fellow Canucks with just enough ethanol in the tank.
“Great end to the day, obviously,” said Hinchcliffe. “We finally caught a lucky break in Toronto. We didn’t have the best car on blacks, we were really good on reds at the start. Some guys were throwing elbows and there was a bit of bump-and-grinding at the beginning there, but we were able to maintain position. On the blacks, with the track temperature going up, we were really struggling. We pitted and luckily just caught that yellow.
“Like I said, it’s the first time I’ve had a lucky break in this city so we’re happy to take it. Huge props to the Arrow Electronics boys in the pits because we made up some spots there and to get the podium here in the hometown… this is awesome. This is one of the coolest days ever.”
Teammate Mikhail Aleshin also drove a solid race. He started tenth and made an impressive pass at the start to jump up four spots into sixth place. A timely pit stop also helped the Russian driver, who finished in sixth place.
“The team did an amazing job and that’s what allowed me to be in the top six in the SMP Racing car,” said Aleshin. “Sixth place is great for the points championship and we’re going to aim for even more next time. Thanks to the SMP crew and now we’ll focus on Mid-Ohio.”
Earlier in the day, the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Series completed their second race of the double-header weekend. Andre Negrao, who completed the second-fastest lap of the first race on Saturday, earning him a second-place starting spot. He was able to hold that position from start to finish on Sunday, and take his second-place spot on the podium for the second time this season.
Teammate Santiago Urrutia started in fifth on Sunday. During a fairly chaotic start to the 45-lap race, the Uruguan driver was shuffled back several spots during the first couple laps. He was able to regain his starting position by lap five and then advanced one more spot to run the majority of the race in fourth. He fought hard for the final podium spot as the finish line neared, but ultimately crossed the line in fourth. The points he gained advanced him to second place in the championship standings.
In two weeks, the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires head to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the eleventh IndyCar race, and fourteenth and fifteenth Indy Lights races, of the 2016 season. IndyCar will headline the weekend with the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, which will take place on Sunday, July 31 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The 200-lap competition will be broadcast live on CNBC and tickets are available online at www.MidOhio.com.