ST PETERSBURG, Fla- “The Mayor” is finally a winner in America’s premier open wheel series.
James Hinchcliffe put himself at the top of the field towards the end of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and pulled away down the stretch to pick up his first victory as an Izod IndyCar Series driver in the series’ opening race of 2013.
Helio Castroneves, who won the 2012 St. Petersburg race, led for part of the way but had to settle with second while Hinchcliffe’s Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti rounded out the podium with third.
Hinchcliffe, who began racing in the Izod IndyCar Series in 2011, took the lead on lap 85 on a restart when he passed Castroneves. As the cars behind him engaged in a furious competition for position, Hinchcliffe slowly pulled away from the pack to pick up his first series victory.
The win comes in the former residence city of Dan Wheldon, the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who died in the final race of the 2011 season in Las Vegas. He was signed to drive the No. 27 Go Daddy car for Andretti Autosport just hours before his death as the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and it was Hinchcliffe who replaced him after spending 2011 with Newman-Haas.