The self-proclaimed "Mayor of HinchTown" is only in his first full year in IndyCar, but James Hinchcliffe is already attracting a lot of attention. When Danica Patrick made the switch from IndyCar to NASCAR, GoDaddy hired the 2011 Rookie of the Year as its new IndyCar driver. Replacing Danica is no small order, but Hinchcliffe is embracing the spotlight. The two have started a friendly video campaign to determine who gets their face on GoDaddy's homepage (you can see the latest one here).
Hinchcliffe has consistently finished in the top six for every race in the season except at Belle Isle in Detroit, when a deteriorating track took him out and caused a 21st place finish. With all eyes on him, the 25-year-old driver insists that he is only halfway through the season and anything can change. But if he keeps his top-six streak alive, he will be a legitimate contender for the IndyCar title.
So that was frustrating and very disappointing, because in my mind it was an avoidable situation. It wasn't complete dumb luck; I think there was an error on the part of race control to let the track get that bad. But it is what it is, and at the end of the day, once it's happened you can't change it. There's no point in dwelling on it for too long, we just focus on trying to come back strong. And we managed to do that in finishing the top five the next week in Texas and one better and got on the podium the week after that in Milwaukee, so hopefully we're back on to a good streak here.
It's so close right now, I mean I think second to fifth is only a dozen points or something. I know I still gotta prove myself, I gotta get that first win out of the way, before I can be a last-race-of-the-season championship contender. So I'm not too fixed on it, I'm happy with where we are, I'm happy with the job we've done. We have some more realistic short-term goals that I'm focused on, rather than looking at the big-picture championship just yet.