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IndyCar Long Beach: Hinchcliffe jumps ahead in final stops for win

James Hinchcliffe won the IndyCar Long Beach Grand Prix as main challenger Ryan Hunter-Reay stopped on track with six laps to go in a race of attrition

The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver became the second Canadian after Paul Tracy to win IndyCar's flagship street race, leading home Sebastien Bourdais and Josef Newgarden.

Both Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay, along with Scott Dixon, jumped polesitter Helio Castroneves at the beginning of the race as the Penske driver made a poor start.

By Turn 4 the yellow flag was brought out after Will Power's attempted pass on Charlie Kimball led to contact, putting the latter out of the race while the former was forced to pit with damage.

When the race restarted on lap five, Dixon - who had taken the lead at the start - began to save fuel, which in turn keept Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay on his tail.

But Dixon's race lead fell away after he switched to a three stop strategy in the hope of a yellow flag which never came, meaning Hunter-Reay took control.

Hunter-Reay eventually pitted on lap 28, emerging behind Dixon. He was now on the slower compound black tyre, but needed to make only one more stop to Dixon's two.

Despite his lead, Dixon had to contend with traffic, forcing his Ganassi team to bring him in for his second stop early on lap 41.

He re-joined alongside Graham Rahal, but was able to quickly dispose of the American and race off into clean air with Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, and Rossi still at the fore.

Hinchcliffe made his move for the win on the final stops. Hunter-Reay and team-mate Alexander Rossi stopped a lap earlier than Hinchcliffe on lap 56, allowing him to jump the Andretti duo.

Rossi then slowed several laps later, stopping on track and bringing out the second full course caution.

With the race neutralised, second placed Hunter-Reay found himself in a difficult situation as the only driver on the slower primary tyre compound and needing to make his fuel last during his long final stint.

Hinchcliffe took advantage to extend his lead, but Hunter-Reay then stopped on track with just six laps to go with an apparent electrical issue.

Hunter-Reay's late retirement ended a difficult day for Andretti Autosport as none of its four entries made it to the end of the race, with Takuma Sato also retiring.

A three-lap dash to the finish followed with Hinchcliffe leading Bourdais who had moved up to second after the retirements of Rossi and Hunter-Reay, but failed to make the most of the restart and finished second to the race leader.

Dixon's strategy gamble failed to pay off and he had to settle for fourth, behind Newgarden, but ahead of defending Long Beach winner Simon Pagenaud who had started from the back after a penalty in qualifying.

The Frenchman capitalised on the caution periods to carve his way through the field.

Rookie Ed Jones had a quietly impressive race in sixth place, While Carlos Munoz, Spencer Pigot, Castroneves and Rahal rounded out the top 10.

Following his first-lap collision, Power finished in 14th place, one position behind JR Hildebrand who was involved in a final lap collision with Mikhail Aleshin.

RESULTS - 85 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1h50m28.9818s
2 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1.4940s
3 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 2.3160s
4 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 2.7832s
5 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 3.3934s
6 Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 5.7951s
7 Carlos Munoz AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 6.9393s
8 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 9.0570s
9 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 9.3403s
10 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 17.8632s
11 J.R. Hildebrand Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet Contact
12 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
13 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1 Lap
14 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
15 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
16 Conor Daly AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1 Lap
17 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda Electrical
18 Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda Mechanical
19 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda Mechanical
20 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda Electrical
21 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda Contact


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