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Hinchcliffe Highest Qualified Rookie In 10th At Edmonton Indy

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James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The first round of qualifying was pretty good for the Sprott team.  We were sort of taking stabs at it because we’ve never run here before and don’t know what to expect.  And then on top of that, with the yellow that we had you get about four laps to figure out the red Firestone tires.  It’s a hell of an ‘ask.’  The car was good; the guys did a really good job guessing on the setup.  I came around for my last lap and they told me what time I needed to make in order to get in the top-six and about half way through the lap I clipped the wall coming out of Turn 9 so my heart rate sky rocketed.  I was going quicker so I couldn’t lift and luckily we held it all together and squeaked in there and ended up third in the session.  It was a decent run in Q1.  In the second round we were hoping for an improvement but I just felt like we lost a little bit of grip.  I don’t know if it was the tires or the changes that we made.  I’m not quite sure but we didn’t feel as strong.  I think there might have been a couple more tenths (of a second) in it but if you look at how the times spaced out, I don’t think we would have moved up the grid much — maybe a spot.  We made it to Round 2 again and I think our performance is something we can be reasonably happy with.  We will just try to pick some people off tomorrow.”

FAST FACTS:  Set the fastest lap time in the first morning session today which was his first time to set the fastest time in an Indy car session.  This will be his SIXTH year to race here (eighth race) and FIRST in the headline Indy car here.  He has three poles and four podium finishes here including a win.  In 2010, he won the Firestone Indy Lights race from pole and led all 50 laps.  In his first Indy Lights race here in 2009, he started and finished fourth.  He competed in the Atlantic Series events here from 2006-2008.  In the 2008 event, he started from pole and finished third in Race 1 and started fourth and finished third in Race 2.  In the 2007 event here he started from pole and finished third in Race 1.  In Race 2, he started 15 and finished ninth.  In 2006, he started eighth and finished 23rd…Toronto native Hinchcliffe, 24, finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after three wins and four poles.  In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races…Is ranked 14th with a total of 158 points and is 35 behind Rookie of the Year leader Hildebrand (193) after seven of eight events so far this season (missed St. Pete).

NEWMAN/HAAS RACING IN EDMONTON: NHR has 2 WINS, 1 POLE and SIX PODIUMS in six races here from 2005-2010.  NHR won the inaugural race here in 2005 when Bourdais drove to victory from a 10th place start.  Bourdais won again in 2007 from a second place start and set the fastest race lap.  In total, the team has earned TWO wins (Bourdais 2007, 2005), ONE pole (Bourdais 2006) and SIX podium finishes (2nd – Bourdais 2006, Servia 2005; 3rd – Wilson 2008, Rahal 2007).