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Why I’m blogging for the Register



IndyCar’s James Hinchcliffe: Why I’m blogging for the Register

  Jun. 19, 2013   |

IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe

IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe / Getty Images
Written by
Izod IndyCar Series driver

This is the first of three blogs for The Register by James Hinchcliffe, 26, who drives the No. 27 Andretti Autosport GoDaddy Chevrolet/Dallara. He’s the mayor of his own pretend town at a website that 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.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering out loud: Who the hell is James Hinchcliffe and why is he writing this blog for The Des Moines Register?

Well, let me tell you. I’m the driver of the No. 27 GoDaddy Chevy for Andretti Autosport in the Izod IndyCar Series. I’m assuming you’ve heard that we’re coming to Iowa this weekend to compete in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway.

But for those who don’t know the race is coming to town, let me tell you a little bit about it. Iowa Speedway is a seven-eighths-mile high-banked oval in Newton, and it’s been a yearly stop on the IndyCar Series schedule since 2007. The last couple of years it was a night race, but this weekend it will be held on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Now that you know what and where and when, let me tell you why you should come check it out. Let’s start off with a simple answer. I’m almost certain there will be plenty of baseball somewhere on Saturday and Monday, so you might as well try something different on Sunday. It’s not often that an international racing series comes to town, so feel free to mix it up a bit.

Furthermore, it’s a great track for watching races. It’s small and fast and you can see the entire track from pretty much every seat in the house. It’s a spectator’s dream. It’s also a racer’s dream. Or, in my case, an occasional nightmare. More on that later.

As drivers, we love coming to Iowa because it’s one of the most challenging tracks we face all year. We’re covering almost a mile in about 17 seconds. That’s right around 190 mph. Whether you’re a stats person or not, those are pretty impressive numbers.

With the corners banked between 12 and 14 degrees, the G-forces we experience are up in the 4s. That’s the pressure of four times our own body weight. When you throw 24 of us out there, it’s like racing fighter jets in a gymnasium. If that doesn’t get your heart rate up, I’d go see your cardiologist.

OK, so I’ve covered the what (race), the where (Iowa Speedway), the when (Sunday at 1:30) and the why (because it’s freakin’ awesome). Now it’s time for the who.

I’m a Canadian kid from just outside Toronto. I started karting at the age of 9. I always dreamed of being an IndyCar driver, and after 15 years in karts and the junior ranks, I made my debut in the IndyCar Series in 2011. I won rookie of the year that season and signed on to fill the heels of Danica Patrick in 2012.

I managed to get my first win in the season opener in March at St. Petersburg, Fla., but I’ve had an up-and-down season since then. Last year at Iowa was probably my best chance of 2012, but I crashed out by myself while running among the leaders. That really makes me want to come back and make up for a missed opportunity.

We know Andretti Autosport will be quick – my teammates, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti finished first and second last year – so you know our team (which also includes E.J. Viso) will be gunning for the win this weekend.

So ditch baseball for the weekend and come to Iowa Speedway. I need to avenge what happened last year, and I need all the help I can get. Come out and cheer me on.

Oh, yeah. There will be 23 other drivers there. You can cheer for them, too, if you want.