Honda, Hinchcliffe Race to Victory in Iowa
James Hinchcliffe and the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda team dominated this weekend’s Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway, continuing the manufacturer’s successful run of races in the 2018 IndyCar Series. The win marked Hinchcliffe’s first this year and Honda’s sixth, putting the latter one ahead of rival Chevrolet.
Though Hinchcliffe started 11th after sliding in qualifying, he and his team made short work of the competition. He gained seven positions in the first 35 laps (made even more impressive by the fact that the Iowa oval is the shortest on the calendar) and then progressed further up among the leaders thanks to smart pit stops, during which the team made adjustments to compensate for the race’s increasingly hot weather conditions.
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By lap 224, Hinchcliffe was closing down first and second place. By lap 256 he had taken the lead and began a hugely dominant stint, extending his lead to seven seconds over the next 30 laps. Unfortunately, the race ended under the caution flag because of a lap 294 collision between Takuma Sato and Ed Carpenter.
Despite the contact, Sato — winner of last year’s Indy 500 — also made the most of his Honda-powered IndyCar and managed to finish third. Robert Wickens, Hinchcliffe’s rookie teammate at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, finished fifth.
Honda is now 142 points clear of Chevrolet in the manufacturer standings for the 2018 IndyCar Series, having won four of the last five races. Though Scott Dixon finished only 12th, he also continues to lead the driver standings for Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
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