INDYCAR: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Makes Most of Soggy Day at NOLA With Double Podium

RaceChaser Staff Featured, MidSouth, Sprints & Midgets, Verizon IndyCar Series 0 Comments

AVONDALE, La. — official series release — Chris Owens/IndyCar photo —

A promising start to qualifying for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, which saw both James Hinchcliffe and James Jakes advance to the second round, quickly turned disappointing when Saturday’s session was canceled because of rain.

The starting grid for the inaugural Verizon IndyCar Series race on the 2.74-mile, 13-turn NOLA Motorsports Park road course was set by entrant points, placing Hinchcliffe 16th and Jakes 22nd.

Through the rain clouds, however, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports duo’s race day brightened considerably as Hinchcliffe won under caution and Jakes was the biggest mover of the race by finishing third.

“Nice to be back after a year out, second weekend and second (career) podium,” said Jakes, who did not compete in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2014. “Thanks to the team. We’ve not had the season start we kind of wanted. We struggled a little bit pace-wise; I think not entirely all our fault. But everybody is working their butts off and we look forward to the next rounds. I knew that if it was going to be a tricky day and if you just kept your nose clean and we run the right strategy, we’d get a good result.”

Added Hinchcliffe, who registered his fourth career victory: “It was a stellar day for the team with a first and third finish. What an awesome way to leave New Orleans.

“Even though I’m a bit gutted for the fans that they didn’t get more green flag running, I’m super happy for the team – Arrow Electronics, Lucas Oil, Spyder, everybody – to come here with a new team like this in our second race and get that first win out of the way feels really good. Especially after the year that I personally had last year, we really just wanted to start this relationship off well and, so far, so good.”

Simona de Silvestro, making her second start with Andretti Autosport, advanced from 18th on the starting grid to finish fourth.

“This was huge for us.  We struggled earlier in the weekend, but conditions played into our hands,” said de Silvestro, who earned her fourth top-five finish in 67 starts. “The car was fantastic on rain tires and I passed a lot of people early in the race. The team made a great call on the pit stop for (dry) tires and on the second stop as well.  That gained us a few more positions and then I finally got Tony (Kanaan, for fourth place).

“It is a great day, for us and for Honda, and a great result for the Andretti Autosport team.”

CREDIT: IndyCar Communications

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