By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
---- — Canadian James Hinchcliffe is rapidly becoming an IZOD IndyCar Series fan favorite and is making open wheel racing fans forget that other “Go Daddy” driver Danica Patrick.
Hinchcliffe recorded his third win of the season for Andretti Autosports with a dominating performance at Iowa Speedway last Sunday. It marked the first time the self-proclaimed “Mayor of Hinchtown” recorded a victory on an oval.
Had it not been for a couple of poor performances, Hinchcliffe would be in a position to battle for the series title, instead he is 64 points behind leader Helio Castroneves.
Hinchcliffe did hold off challenges from Ed Carpenter, Will Power and teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay.
For those with short memories, Patrick won once in IndyCar on the oval in Japan.
Although Hinchcliffe led most of the race, there was some excellent racing further back in the pack with drivers running side-by-side. Following several restarts the drivers were running three and four wide through the corners.
Reay, who battled back from last following an on-track incident, was poised to make a late charge at Hinchcliffe, but that was stymied when he encountered three lapped cars and fell several seconds back to the winner.
IN OTHER RACING NEWS
With only ten races remaining until the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship the field is starting to take shape.
Drivers running close to the bubble include Martin Truex Jr., the winner at Sonoma, defending champion Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle.
Kyle Busch, currently eighth in points, would be on the bubble list but with two wins this year is a leading candidate for one of the two wildcard positions.
Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne, both outside the top ten each have one win.
Jeff Gordon is currently 13th in points and could make a late charge to make the Chase field. Denny Hamlin is mired in the 25th spot after missing four races and is 83 points out of 20th, without a victory.
• Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leads the rookie of the year battle with 171 points, Patrick is second with 166 markers.
There is a big weekend of racing at local tracks this weekend. The ARCA Series will be competing at Winchester Speedway on Sunday in a 200-lap event and the Champion Racing Association’s Super Series for Late Models will be running a 100-lap feature on Saturday at the lighting fast half-mile.
The CRA Sportsman will be competing at Anderson Speedway on Saturday in a 75-lap event. Action starts at 8 p.m.
Ken de la Bastide may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-454-8580.