Turning Point: James Hinchcliffe’s one-stop pit strategy nets win _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Eventual winner James Hinchcliffe leads a pack of drivers at Turn 12, including Helio Castroneves, who finished second, and James Jakes, who finished third, at the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday in Avondale.

There are many twists and turns to any Verizon IndyCar Series race, but in a wet race, there comes a point that defines the race for the winner, and that was relatively early in Sunday’s inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.

For James Hinchcliffe, the moment came when he pitted on Lap 13 of the race, which was marred by six cautions for 26 laps.

He was the only driver to employ a one-stop strategy, and by not pitting while other drivers did, was able to keep the lead in the race later on. It was a huge gamble that hinged on a lot of caution periods, but it ended up paying off as the popular Canadian earned his first victory for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

“When we first decided to stay out, I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be funny if we could make this a one-stopper’. I just never thought it (would happen),” Hinchcliffe said.

Considering how many yellow flag laps were run and how often cautions came, Hinchcliffe came out like a bandit in the end, winning with a car that was running low on fuel.