James Hinchcliffe is a Firestone Indy Lights Driver and member of the Pace Car Team. In this post “Hinch” describes his participation during the Firestone 550K Race at Texas Motor Speedway.
When the manager of the Pace Car Team told me I was going to Texas Motor Speedway for the latest round of the IZOD IndyCar Series, I was stoked! What she neglected to mention was that it was going to be 1000 degrees and 800% humidity! Being a pasty Canadian fellow, this presented a problem. But armed with SPF 85, a full brimmed hat and those crazy wrap-around sunglasses that old people in Florida wear, I was good to go!
This trip I got to go down with CK, whom you all know from his famous underwear line. OK, it’s not THAT CK, it was fellow PCT member Charlie Kimball. We flew down Friday morning and when we walked out of the plane it felt like we got hit by a Mack Truck of heat!
Now, you could have blindfolded me back in Indy, thrown me on a plane, given me no indication of where we were going and only removed the blindfold as we pulled into the track and I would have instantly known where we were. I had never been to TMS but it was, like everything else in Texas, HUGE! You just have to glance passingly at this awesome facility once and you just assume based on it’s sheer size that it HAS to be Texas!
The facility was incredible and the track is out of this world. CK and I got to do our first ever laps at Texas in our Honda Pace Cars on Saturday morning. I remember entering Turn 1 and thinking, “Why doesn’t the Firestone Indy Lights Series race here?!”
This track is incredible, and even during pace car rides you could feel the banking, the speed and the G-forces. The fans LOVED it and we loved driving it. We had a huge turn out for rides and huge credit to all who had to stand in line and bear the heat to get their ride. IndyCar really does have the best fans.
A few fan visits and Q&A’s, not to mention staying at an Alice In Wonderland inspired hotel that was both fascinating and terrifying, and then it was race time! And what a show that was! I literally had goosebumps as we drove the parade cars on the warm up laps and as the field took the green. It was such a great race and it killed both CK and I to not be out there mixing it up with the boys and girls in the big show! Congrats to Ryan Briscoe and Penske for a helluva run and it was great to see Simona smiling after that scary wreck. Only a week off and it’s back at it in Iowa. See you guys there!