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IndyCar’s James Hinchcliffe: Heat will be challenge in Phoenix GP

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St Pete Friday-15

AVONDALE, Ariz.—Greetings from the Valley of the Sun, home of the dry heat. I have come here not for baseball spring training or for the golf or to browse the time-share market. I have come here to race. The start I’ve got coming up this Saturday, the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix (which you can catch on NBCSN at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time), is going to be huge. Not only is it the first of five (!) oval races on the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar, but our series hasn’t run on this one-miler since 2005—when a not insignificant number of my rivals were still in short pants.

For me, growing up a big IndyCar fan, Phoenix always stood out. I remember Nigel Mansell going there, and it was his first time racing ovals. That was a big deal. I remember Jacques Villeneuve had a big accident there. (EDITOR’s note: The author spun out and wrecked during the first practice there on Friday, but was not injured.) For whatever reason it was just one of those staple circuits that had some remarkable finishes. On Saturday, I’ll finally get my chance to contribute to this hallowed history.

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