Returning to Southern California, where he found fame as runner-up last winter in “Dancing with the Stars”, James Hinchcliffe took his Honda into the lead of Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Lap 63 and never looked back, dominating the final 22 laps for his fifth career Verizon IndyCar Series victory and first win of 2017.
The win was also the second in as many events for Honda to start the 2017 Indy car season, as Sebastien Bourdais followed up his victory at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with a second-place result today on the demanding Long Beach temporary street circuit.
Hinchcliffe and his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team made their winning move on Lap 56 of the 85-lap Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, as he stayed on track for one additional lap after his primary rivals pitted. The extra speed provided by running that lap free of traffic, plus an excellent pit stop from the Schmidt Peterson crew, gave Hinchcliffe the lead for the final 22 laps and the victory.
Despite having to pit at the end of the first lap to replace a rear wing damaged from contact, Sebastien Bourdais again took advantage of both speed in his Honda and excellent pit strategy from his Dale Coyne Racing team to move through the field. He was running a solid third in the closing laps when second-place Ryan Hunter-Reay was forced out of the race with mechanical issues. Bourdais finished 1.4-seconds behind Hinchcliffe at the checkers.
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