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Hinchcliffe felt pressure to live up to Canada’s open-wheel racing tradition

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TORONTO – James Hinchcliffe waved the Canadian flag when he emerged from his car after winning last year’s IndyCar season-opening race.

It was a fitting gesture from a man who has been both motivated and burdened by Canada’s winning tradition in open-wheel racing.

The 27-year-old driver from Oakville, Ont., enters this IndyCar season fresh off a breakout 2013 campaign that saw him win three races and finish eighth overall in the driver standings.

He became the first Canadian to win a major open-wheel race since Toronto’s Paul Tracy won on the now-defunct CART circuit in 2007. And it took the pressure of having to live up to his heroes off his shoulders.

It’s something that pressured him in his first few IndyCar seasons.

“A hundred per cent. And it was 100 per cent self-inflicted,” Hinchcliffe said Wednesday in a phone interview. “As a fan of Canadian motorsports and of IndyCar racing, I wanted to keep up my end of that bargain.

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