We all knew that two drivers would be sent home and unable to participate in the Indianapolis 500. No one would imagined that James Hinchcliffe would be one of them.
The Canadian fan-favorite, who currently sits fifth in points, missed the making the field during today's Qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A distraught Hinch explained what went wrong to the media afterward:
James Hinchcliffe explains the circumstances that led to him failing to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) May 19, 2018
Several drivers from multiple teams walk up and say 'sorry.' pic.twitter.com/wpZTFCl7ne
As Query mentioned in the immediate aftermath, it's hard to see Hinchcliffe not actually in the show. His one-off Schmidt Motorsports teammate Jay Howard qualified the #7 car, and to keep sponsors happy - and Hinch's points championship hopes alive - they need Hinch in the biggest race of the season.
The car, not driver, is qualified, but, while understanding of the heart ache involved for a full-time team, Jay Howard certainly didn’t sound like a guy willing to hop out of his seat. However, I’d anticipate major contractual & monetary discussion tonight.— Jake Query (@jakequery) May 19, 2018