Newton, IA – July 10, 2016 – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports drivers Mikhail Aleshin and James Hinchcliffe earned fifth- and ninth-place finishes, respectively, for the Iowa Corn 300 on Sunday afternoon at Iowa Speedway.
Aleshin, who started ninth for the 300-lap competition, was able to gain four positions by lap fifty. For the remainder of the race, he fought to stay in the top ten and ran as high as fourth on lap 247. When the checkered flag fell, he was the last car on the lead lap and the highest-finishing Honda of the race.
“Fifth is definitely a decent result and really good for the whole team,” said Aleshin. “The guys did an amazing job to put the SMP Racing car together overnight after some technical issues we had yesterday. The car was pretty good to drive compared to most of the field. We were moving up in position constantly during the race and I was pretty patient. I knew that we were going to be up there, but at the same time, I knew that we had to be aggressive with some things. Overall, we put everything together today and P5 was definitely good.”
Hinchcliffe started at the back of the field due to an issue in qualifying on Saturday. By lap three, he had gained four spots and was running 18th. Several good pit stops by the Arrow Electronics crew, in addition to being waived around during a couple of full-course yellows helped the Canadian driver edge his way up to ninth, where he held steady for the final 50 laps of the race.
“I think we can be pretty pleased with that,” said Hinchliffe. “To start shotgun in the field and end up in the top ten without really any lucky breaks or lucky yellows. It was just on pace, we had quick stops from the guys and stayed out of trouble. There weren’t a lot of cautions or a lot of guys going out today, so we kind of just had to race our way up there. Big credit to the No. 5 crew and everybody on the Arrow Electronics team. The car was good all weekend, other than that issue with qualifying obviously, so it sucked to start back there but to be able to work our way back up showed the strength that we have. Obviously congrats to Mikahil with his top five, it was a great day for the SPM team.”
Earlier in the day, SPM Indy Lights drivers Santiago Urrutia and Heamin Choi brought home a fifth- and tenth-place finish, respectively, in the 100-lap competition. Teammate Andre Negrao finished thirteenth after a right front tire issue forced the team to pit, putting him seven laps down at the checkered flag.
In one week, the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires head to Canada for the eleventh race of the 2016 IndyCar season, and the 12th and 13th races of the Indy Lights season. The Honda Indy Toronto will take place on the streets of downtown Toronto, Ontario on Sunday, July 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The 85-lap competition will be broadcast live on CNBC and tickets are available online at www.HondaIndyToronto.com.