NEWTON, Iowa (Sunday, June 23, 2013) — James Hinchcliffe, who led 33 total laps on ovals in his previous two IZOD IndyCar Series seasons, led all but 24 to dominate the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway.
The Toronto native, driving the No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet, earned his first victory on an oval. He’s the only three-time winner this season and seventh different winner through 10 of 19 races. This time he led Ryan Hunter-Reay across the finish line by 1.509 seconds for the second consecutive Andretti Autosport 1-2 sweep on the .875-mile oval.
Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, who had finished first, second and third the previous three outings at Iowa, placed third. Ed Carpenter finished fourth and Graham Rahal earned his second consecutive top-five finish of the season.
“We have a great track record here, but this year with so many different things and a day race, everything was different,” said Hinchcliffe, who started second following qualifying that consisted of three 50-lap heat races and grid spot penalties because of unapproved engine changes that impacted six drivers. “We were trying to manage a gap on the guys behind us, trying to take care of the tires. At the end of the day the car was solid. Guys on the stand called it perfect, and I can’t thank them enough.”
Hinchcliffe advanced five positions in the championship standings and is 66 points behind front-runner Helio Castroneves heading into the second half of the season that starts with the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on July 7 at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway.
Castroneves’ nine points earned for claiming the Verizon P1 Award in the third heat race is the margin over Hunter-Reay in the standings. Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car, finished eighth. Marco Andretti, who finished ninth in the No. 25 RC Cola car, is third (-55 points). Seven different teams are represented in the top 10.
“We drove as hard as we could today,” said Castroneves, who recorded his sixth consecutive top 10. “When they told me I came in eighth, I was like ‘What?’ I certainly felt we had a better car than that. I guess in traffic we got held up coming in and out of the pits, which cost us some positions. The Hitachi car really came alive with about 50 laps to go and it felt great. Maybe it was a little too late for us. But we still have the points lead and we will look for a better result in Pocono.”