It seems harder now, looking back, to say that this particular announcement was the most shocking one in the 2019/2020 INDYCAR Silly Season. While many of us had hope that Arrow McLaren SP switching from Honda to Chevrolet engines would mean James Hinchcliffe would have a ride, deep down everyone knew it was a long shot. But there was hope. Until the big announcement came that Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew would be the team’s two full time drivers. Then the question became “well what will happen to Hinch”? He still was under contract with the team, but there wasn’t a full time ride with him. Plus there was his personal contract with Honda.
The announcement, a partial ride with Andretti Autosport at both Indy races and the DXC 600. Thanks to the Genesys funding for making these three races happen! I’m happy another Indy-based sponsor is stepping up. If sponsors from my State can step up, others should!! Is there irony in the white, charcoal, and orange coloring?? Okay maybe that was a bit click-bait, hopefully it’s not papaya orange.
This is not James’ first time driving for Andretti Autosport. Back in 2012, he took over Danica Patrick’s Go-Daddy car (which the social media around that is just hilarious). That first season he finished the series in 8th place overall and secured a 6th place finish in the Indianapolis 500. He remained with the team in the 2013 season and scored three first-place finishes that season, a spot in the fast-nine at Indy but ended in 21st place. Hinchcliffe ultimately finished the 2013 season in 8th place. In his final year at Andretti Autosport, 2014, Hinchcliffe finished 12th overall and scored one podium finish at Mid-Ohio. Now it’s a partial season. The DXC 600 was surprising to see as the third race. Of course Indy isn’t surprising. He’ll be returning for the race that has made him who he is.
I’m optimistic for Hinchcliffe. He has shown great skill and the Andretti Autosport technology is nearly second-to-none. My only concern is that they are stretching their resources with a full paddock of full-time drivers and two technical partnerships (with Harding Steinbrenner and Michael Shank Racing). Ultimately this is great for Hinch. He will be at a track, he will be in a car, he will be around races. Having a full-time ride is perfect, but this is a great opportunity for him.
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