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Des Moines Registry Blog 2: Iowa Speedway is a dizzying place

Posted

 Jun. 22, 2013   |

James Hinchcliffe gets set to qualify Saturday. 'With any luck, I'll win the race and do donuts,' wrote Hinchcliffe, who starts second.

James Hinchcliffe gets set to qualify Saturday. ‘With any luck, I’ll win the race and do donuts,’ wrote Hinchcliffe, who starts second. / Bryon Houlgrave/The Register
Written by JAMES HINCHCLIFFE -IZOD IndyCar Series driver

This is the second of three blogs for The Register by James Hinchcliffe, 26, who drives the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Go Daddy Chevrolet/Dallara. He’s the mayor of his own pretend town (visitwww.hinchtown.com), which features a video of him riding an automatic dog-washer. He’s been known to write “STOP” on his left racing boot and “GO” on his right. Before his first race in the neon green car once driven by Danica Patrick, he donned a wig of long black hair. He won this year’s Izod IndyCar Series opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., and currently stands ninth in the points standings.

People ask me all the time: Do you ever get dizzy when you race at Iowa Speedway? The answer, in one dizzy word, is yes.

When you consider how fast we turn laps here and how often we circle the place, if we race lots of laps at speed under green and then step out of the car, we feel a little weak afoot, like you would if you rode a crazy circular ride at the Iowa State Fair. When you stop moving, the earth beneath you doesn’t.

So, when I stepped out of the car Saturday night after the 50-lap heat race, I was dizzy. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Overall, the No. 27 Go Daddy Andretti Autosport Chevrolet/Dallara was great Saturday. If you saw the heat races, you saw us finish third, which means we’ll start second Sunday in the Iowa Corn Indy 250. I know, that doesn’t make much sense when you read it the first time, but it’s true. We’re on the front row.

That’s because Helio Castroneves, who won the qualifying race, decided to change the engine on his car, which means he has to surrender 10 positions for the start of Sunday’s race. That moves his teammate, Will Power, up a position, and I follow him up from third to second.

Which almost bothers me, since Will passed me late in the race for second. Had that not happened, I could have started from the pole.

Here’s how weird it all went down: Near the end of the race, thinking I was going to start inside the second row and I really wanted to start from the outside, I briefly considered letting Marco Andretti pass me so I could start outside. Fortunately, the racer in me wouldn’t allow that to happen. Thank God, because now I’ve got my outside spot, and it’s on the front row.

But seriously, I have no complaints whatsoever. We’re on the front row with a good car. It’s certainly in the ballpark and capable of something solid Sunday.

After the race, I met with my engineers. All of them are geniuses, by the way, and I’m not just saying that because I know they’ll see this. We went through all the data from the car, talked over how it felt and how it developed and changed during the race, and came up with some ideas to improve it.

We’re hoping this wind dies down a bit, because it really affects the way the car performs…

Read the rest of the article at 

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013306220085