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James Hinchcliffe races out of the pits in front of Charlie Kimball (83) in the first Toronto Indy race of the day in Toronto on Sunday, July 20, 2014. (Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
James Hinchcliffe races out of the pits in front of Charlie Kimball (83) in the first Toronto Indy race of the day in Toronto on Sunday, July 20, 2014. (Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Motorsports

James Hinchcliffe frustrated in hometown races again this year Add to ...

On tap this week:

  • 2inTO Frustration continues for Hinch
  • Bourdais makes donuts
  • Racing loses safety giant
  • Racing sensor to help local road safety
  • Quote of the Week: Hinch on two races in one day
  • 2inCTMP?

Sitting helpless in the pitlane during his home race while watching his rivals continue to battle on track seems to have become a recurring nightmare for James Hinchcliffe.

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The Oakville native needed to pit after an early accident in the bottom end of the IndyCar doubleheader on Sunday in Toronto, marking the second consecutive year he needed repairs that ruined his home race.

The bad luck threw any chance of a good finish out the window after Hinchcliffe emerged four laps down. Ironically, this year's frustration came after a promising eighth place finish in Race 1, the exact same result he had last year on his first try in the doubleheader before things went awry.

"At least we have two races because before that it was one race and it was a nightmare so I guess we have to look for the silver lining there," he said after stepping from the car following Race 2 on Sunday.

"It's tough because the fans have been so supportive and the coolest thing is that they are not bandwagoners — I have been saying it all week that I haven't given them much to cheer about but every year the support grows. No matter what happens they are always behind me and that means so much and more than anything I want to give them a reason to say 'congratulations' instead of 'better luck next time.'"

Hinchcliffe lost control early in the second race trying to avoid an accident after rain sprinkled the track; instead, he got caught up in a three-car incident that damaged his car.

Unfortunately the other two cars were dangerously positioned with one sitting on the back of the other and they needed to be attended to first before the safety crew could get the No. 27 United Fiber & Data car going. By the time the car was restarted and repairs completed in the pits, Hinchcliffe was four laps down and buried in 20th place. He eventually finished 18th.

Last year, Hinchcliffe didn't make the starting grid for the second race when his throttle pedal stuck just before the cars were fired up for the race. By the time he got going, Hinchcliffe was already three laps down. He ended that day 21st.

Despite the adversity, Hinchcliffe kept his trademark sense of humour intact. After saying he felt physically fine directly following two races in one day, he added that the same may not be true Monday morning.

"I won't be feeling that great," he said, "but for completely unrelated reasons."

By the Numbers: Even after seven years between IndyCar wins, Sebastian Bourdais' donuts were perfect, with four tight symmetrical circles at Turn 9 where he celebrated the end of a long drought.

The KV Racing driver took his 32nd career win in IndyCar in the first of two races on Sunday, dominating the morning tilt despite a late scare when he ran over some carbon fibre debris from another car's broken front wing.

"It's just really sweet," Bourdais said after the race.

"I've been putting on good, very strong performances and to be back on the top step in the way we have done it today pretty much like the good 'ole days it's very special."

The win moved the French driver into sole possession of eighth overall in career IndyCar victories ahead of Canadian Paul Tracy and four-time champion Dario Franchitti. Scott Dixon is seventh overall and first among active drivers with 33 wins.

Bourdais, who took four consecutive Champ Car titles with the Newman/Haas team beginning in 2004, scored his last victory in Mexico City in what turned out to be that series final race before it was swallowed by Indy Racing League to create the IndyCar Series.

Random Thoughts: Few people are likely to know the name Dr. John Melvin, but if you've ever been involved in a road car accident, you may owe your life to him. Dr. Melvin worked on safety for General Motors for 40 years before retiring in 1998 and focusing his efforts on motorsport.

He was a fellow of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile Institute for Motorsports Safety and played central roles in the development of the SAFER barrier at the University of Nebraska and better driver seats and restraints in NASCAR following the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. in the 2001 Daytona 500.

NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski summed his contribution in a couple of tweets last week: "Dr. Melvin is the biggest reason for a lack of driver fatalities since 2001. Dr. Melvin recommended the use of over under shoulder harnesses and six-point t-bar crotch belts that probably saved my life in various crashes."

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