WATKINS GLEN, N.Y – For Petro-Canada Lubricants driver James Hinchliffe, The INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen ended sooner than the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) team and fans expected. A gearbox issue plagued the No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda after just two laps, relegating the Canadian to a 21st place finish. For SPM newcomer Jack Harvey, his clean and consistent weekend paid off with a 14th place finish after running as high as fifth in his rookie debut.
"About Lap 2 I started having problems getting into fourth gear," said Hinchcliffe after the early finish. "It would kind rev off the limiter, it would skip the gear sometimes, it would clunk in… I knew we had a little bit of a problem, and then coming out of Turn 8, shifted to third and everything messed up in the gearbox and went down to first gear, and I think did some pretty big damage to the gearbox. It’s really too bad. We didn’t have the best qualifying and wasn’t the best weekend for us, but we were confident we could pull something off in the race — good strategy, smart decisions. Tough day for the Arrow Electronics guys but we’ll bounce back in Sonoma."
For the 24-year-old Harvey, the 60-lap contest in upstate New York marked his first road course race in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The No. 7 SPM team and the rookie looked at the Watkins Glen weekend as a learning opportunity and to assist the team in gathering data and experience for the Englishman. Consistency on the Firestone primary compound tires and strategy in the pits would cycle him all the way into the top five early in the race.
After a week off, the Verizon IndyCar series will end the 2017 season in Sonoma, California at Sonoma Raceway. Practice on the 2.3-mile, 12-turn circuit begins on Friday, September 15 at 10:00 a.m. PT. Television coverage of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma begins on Sunday, September 17 at 3:30 p.m.
Photo courtesy of IndyCar Media