It’s Hinchcliffe In Sao Paulo Thriller!
SAO PAULO, Brazil – James Hinchcliffe led the final 300 yards of the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300, which is all that was necessary.
Hinchcliffe overtook Takuma Sato in the final turn of the final lap to win by .346 of a second, preventing A.J. Foyt Racing from earning consecutive victories.
Hinchcliffe, who won the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Fla., and did not finish the past two races because of contact in the No. 27 GoDaddy.com car, earned his second career victory and the third for Andretti Autosport this season. He is the first Canadian to win in Brazil since Greg Moore at Rio on May 10, 1998.
Marco Andretti finished on the podium in the No. 25 RC Cola car for the second time (and his fourth consecutive top 10) and Oriol Servia placed fourth after starting 13th in the No. 22 Panther/DRR car. It was his best outing since finishing fourth at Milwaukee last June.
Josef Newgarden, who was running in second and only .528 of a second behind Sato on lap 70 of 75, finished a career-high fifth after making up 20 spots relative to his starting position.
“There’s no cooler way to win a race – in the last corner of the last lap,” said Hinchcliffe, who led the four Andretti Autosport cars finishing in the top 11. “Takuma was making that race car really wide and he was defending the inside pretty well, almost too well a couple times. He just outbroke himself just a little bit and I was able to do a high-low (pass) and got the win.”
Sato takes a 13-point lead over Andretti in the championship standings heading into the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26.
“Hinch did a great job and the guys did a good job,” Sato said. “Today we started from 12th so it was a really solid day for us. It was a great, great race, and we’re carrying good momentum into Indianapolis. ”
Helio Castroneves, who led in points through three races, is third (20 points behind) after placing 13th on the 2.536-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. Hinchcliffe moved to fourth (24 points back).
Pole sitter Ryan Hunter-Reay finished 11th. Will Power, who had won the previous three races in Brazil, had gained 12 spots from his 22nd starting position. But a fire in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car on Lap 19 ended his day.