James Hinchcliffe is proud to call himself a Canadian. As such, the Verizon IndyCar Series driver is in his native land today to celebrate the historic 150th Canada Day – the nation’s equivalent to Independence Day in the United States.
Canada Day commemorates enactment of the Constitution Act on July 1, 1867, that united three colonies – Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – into a single Dominion within the British Empire. While the act 150 years ago today didn’t establish Canada’s full independence, it was a major step on the path that was completed 35 years ago with the passing of the 1982 Constitution Act that allowed for full Canadian sovereignty.
For Hinchcliffe, enjoying a weekend off from driving his No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, today provides the perfect opportunity to relive childhood memories including taking in the Toronto Blue Jays-Boston Red Sox baseball game at Rogers Centre.
“Obviously, this is a big birthday for Canada,” Hinchcliffe said. “I always loved going to Blue Jays games as a kid, and Canada Day was always one of the biggest ones of the year.
“Recently, because of my relationship with Honda Canada, I've had the chance to go to that game and even throw out the first pitch,” added the 30-year-old from nearby Oakville, Ontario. “No biggie, just you and 50,000 of your closest friends! This year I'll be doing the same and then watching some fireworks with friends and family.”
Hinchcliffe, in his seventh Verizon IndyCar Series season, is the latest in a line of stellar Indy car drivers that has included the likes of Jacques Villeneuve, Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani and Hinchcliffe’s boyhood hero, the late Greg Moore. Hinchcliffe was elated to equal Moore’s career win total of five earlier this season when he drove to victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Hinchcliffe is shown above holding the Canadian flag following that memorable win.
“I'm very proud to be Canadian and to represent the maple leaf in the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Hinchcliffe said. “We aren't a big country population-wise, but we've produced some great drivers over the years and I'm just trying to keep up with them and keep Canada's good reputation on track alive and well.”
Hinchcliffe and the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers return to action on the short oval at Iowa Speedway for the Iowa Corn 300 on July 8-9. Tune in live for qualifying at 3 p.m. ET July 8 on NBCSN, with race coverage commencing live at 5 p.m. July 9 on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. The Iowa Corn 300 is the 11th of 17 races on this year’s schedule and fourth of six oval events.
The series then heads to Hinchcliffe's hometown for the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Exhibition Place from July 14-16. The race airs at 3 p.m. ET July 16 on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.