Detroit, MI – June 4, 2016 – The first race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit weekend proved to be tough on the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team, with a parts failure for James Hinchcliffe and a flat tire for Mikhail Aleshin.
On Friday, both Hinchcliffe and Aleshin advanced to the second round of qualifying. Aleshin’s time of 1:16.2665 put him twelfth on the starting grid. Hinchcliffe advanced to the second round and then into the Firestone Fast Six, where his time of 1:15.7708 put him in fourth place to start the race.
Starting on the inside of row two, Hinchcliffe maintained his position until his first pit stop on lap nine, where he switched to black tires right before a full-course yellow was thrown. He ran as high as third and managed to avoid an incident when the No. 11 car made light contact with his Arrow Electronics machine on lap 32.
A parts failure on lap 43 caused the Canadian driver’s car to crash into the tires in turn seven. He was able to make it back to the pit box, where the crew thrashed to get Hinchcliffe back on track only three laps down. He would finish 18th.
“There’s not a whole lot to say, really,” said Hinchcliffe. “The Arrow Electronics car was really quick and the guys called a good strategy, but ultimately we had a parts failure that put us into the tires, so it’s an opportunity lost for some solid points. We were ahead of a lot of the guys that we needed to be ahead of and keeping pace with a couple of the Penskes there, which was good because they were the class of the field this weekend. Not a whole lot we can do so we’ll regroup. We know we have a quick car so we’ll just bounce back tomorrow.”
Early in the race, Aleshin pitted for black tires and then drove his way up to sixth place. After fighting hard to stay in the top ten, Aleshin upheld the team’s strategy that put him in position to be up front at the end. With just nine laps to go, the No. 10 car hit Aleshin’s car, flattening a rear tire and forcing him to pit. The Russian driver finished 15th.
“It was a tough race but we were pretty sure the SMP Racing and DOOM car was able to finish in the top ten,” said Aleshin. “But then [Tony] Kanaan just crashed into the rear of my car and the rear right tire went flat. I’m not sure why he didn’t receive a penalty but my crew worked really hard and we deserved more than that.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series will do it all again tomorrow for the second race of the double-header. The second Chevrolet Dual in Detroit race will take place on Sunday, June 5 at 3:50 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled for 10:45am and the 70-lap competition will be broadcast live on ABC. Tickets are available online at www.DetroitGP.com.