Your! Call: Can Hinchcliffe rekindle Canada's love for Indy?

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Shane McNeil, TSN.ca
5/7/2013 11:33:43 AM
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With James Hinchcliffe breaking through this season on the IZOD IndyCar circuit, is it time for Canada to once again start paying attention to auto racing?

The Oakville, Ontario native has won two of the four races run so far this season.

Hinchliffe's win in the season-opening St. Petersburg Grand Prix was impressive enough, as the 26-year-old pounced on a mistake by Helio Castroneves on the 85th lap and led the field for 25 more en route to victory.

However, it was his victory at this past weekend's Sao Paulo 300 that really made a statement. Hinchcliffe stayed with the pack through much of the race without leading a single lap and was able to jump from third to second with three laps remaining.

On the final turn, Hinchcliffe made his move and snuck past race and season points leader Takuma Sato to take the checkered flag. The one lap he led was the last.

Hinchcliffe now finds himself in the thick of the Championship chase as the only Indy driver to have won multiple races so far in 2013.

He has built upon two successful seasons on the circuit - winning Rookie of the Year in 2011 and finishing in the overall top-10 in 2012 - and has emerged as one of the faces to watch on the North American open-wheel circuit.

But will Canadians be watching?

Just one year ago, we asked what had happened to Canada's IndyCar prowess as Canada was once a force in developing top racers such as Paul Tracy, Jacques Villeneuve and the late Greg Moore.

But prior to Hinchcliffe's win in Florida no Canadian had won an Indy race since Paul Tracy took the Cleveland Grand Prix in 2007 as part of the now-defunct Champ Car World Series.

Open-wheel racing was once one of the top draws in Canada, boasting three annual events on the Indy circuit as recently as 2007. Now only one remains with only the Honda Indy Toronto scheduled for 2013.

So are Hinchcliffe's heroics enough to rekindle the nation's interest in Indy?

As always, it's Your! Call.

James Hinchcliffe (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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