IndyCar Iowa: James Hinchcliffe takes win in bizarre finish

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe took his first IndyCar victory in over a year in baffling fashion at Iowa

IndyCar Iowa: James Hinchcliffe takes win in bizarre finish

Hinchcliffe made what appeared to be the decisive move for victory with 40 laps remaining of the 300, sweeping to the inside line to pass long-time race leader Josef Newgarden.

But Hinchcliffe had to make a race-deciding call in the final six laps when Ed Carpenter began to spin before Takuma Sato clattered into Carpenter and straightened him out, with the caution thrown for debris.

Hinchcliffe chose not to pit when the full-course caution was called, unlike nearest rival Newgarden, but the pace car took the field to the chequered flag before a restart could take place.

That meant Newgarden threw away a podium place, ending up fourth.

Hinchcliffe's deserved win came despite Newgarden dominating the majority of the race after deposing polesitting team-mate Will Power early on.

But Hinchcliffe built his platform for victory after a strong opening stint lifted him from 11th on the grid to fifth within the first 18 laps.

It took just under another 30 laps for him to join the battle up front, passing polesitter Power for second and following Newgarden.

Newgarden and Hinchcliffe were evenly matched on stints, able to complete 80 laps comfortably on both fuel and tyres, along with the highly impressive Spencer Pigot in his first IndyCar race at Iowa.

In the second phase of a three-stop strategy, it became increasingly clear that Hinchcliffe's SPM-run car became quicker late on in the stints and was better suited to the traffic the short Iowa lap is famous for.

That advantage paid off when he finally passed Newgarden for the lead and cantered comfortably clear of his rival before Carpenter's caution sealed Hinchcliffe's first win since Long Beach last year.

The late drama elevated Spencer Pigot to second place, his first IndyCar podium after largely matching the stint length of Hinchcliffe and Newgarden throughout.

Despite the collision with Carpenter, Sato maintained third to round out the podium positions ahead of Newgarden.

Hinchcliffe's team-mate Robert Wickens looked set for a podium place before he gambled on fresh tyres when Carpenter caused the caution, instead finishing fifth.

Penske's Power never recovered from losing the lead to Newgarden early on and took sixth.

Simon Pagenaud also failed to make up ground, falling from a starting position of fourth to eighth at the flag.

Alexander Rossi's hopes of fighting for the win ending when he stalled after exiting his pitbox following his first stop.

Having been initially classified 10th at the flag, Rossi was promoted to ninth ahead of Carpenter as the race results were determined from the positions on lap 298 of 300.

Sebastien Bourdais continually ran the longest stints of any driver to finish 11th, meaning he only made up four places from his grid slot.

Championship leader Scott Dixon had a difficult first stint in which he struggled to feel confidence in his Chip Ganassi Racing-run machine and finished 12th ahead of team-mate Ed Jones.

Serial Iowa winner Ryan Hunter-Reay had been a continual presence in the top five but suffered a broken toe-link that dropped him out of contention before he eventually retired late on with what Andretti called an "issue in the rear of his car".

Result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 300 1h47m32.4666s
2 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 300 2.6491s
3 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 300 3.2506s
4 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 300 4.5296s
5 Robert Wickens Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 300 6.3214s
6 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 299 1 Lap
7 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 299 1 Lap
8 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 299 1 Lap
9 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 298 2 Laps
10 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 298 2 Laps
11 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 297 3 Laps
12 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 296 4 Laps
13 Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 295 5 Laps
14 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 295 5 Laps
15 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 294 6 Laps
16 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 293 7 Laps
17 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 292 8 Laps
18 Zachary Claman Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 291 9 Laps
19 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 283 Mechanical
20 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 279 21 Laps
21 Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 99 Handling
22 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 40 Mechanical

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Scott Dixon 411
2 Josef Newgarden 378
3 Alexander Rossi 370
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 359
5 Will Power 358
6 Robert Wickens 304
7 Graham Rahal 304
8 James Hinchcliffe 280
9 Simon Pagenaud 279
10 Sebastien Bourdais 254
11 Marco Andretti 246
12 Takuma Sato 237
13 Ed Jones 222
14 Spencer Pigot 211
15 Tony Kanaan 186
16 Charlie Kimball 167
17 Zach Veach 165
18 Gabby Chaves 158
19 Matheus Leist 156
20 Max Chilton 149
21 Ed Carpenter 148
22 Zachary Claman 106
23 Jordan King 88
24 Carlos Munoz 53
25 Jack Harvey 53
26 Kyle Kaiser 45
27 Helio Castroneves 40
28 Rene Binder 39
29 J.R. Hildebrand 38
30 Stefan Wilson 31
31 Oriol Servia 27
32 Santino Ferrucci 18
33 Conor Daly 18
34 Danica Patrick 13
35 Jay Howard 12
36 Sage Karam 10
36 James Davison 10
36 Alfonso Celis 10
39 Pietro Fittipaldi 7

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Series IndyCar
Drivers James Hinchcliffe
Author Tom Errington
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