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Hinchcliffe working his way back after concussion

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 20, 2014 at 5:31 pm •  Published: May 20, 2014

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) — While awaiting medical clearance to resume driving after a concussion, James Hinchcliffe's thoughts of competing in the Indianapolis 500 went from apprehension to appreciation.

"It was the not knowing, that was the hard part," said Hinchcliffe, who qualified second for the 500 after being cleared to return.

"As a racing driver, we're all control freaks basically, and not knowing and having your future in someone else's hands like that in a sense, it was very nerve-wracking."

Hinchcliffe sustained a concussion when struck in the head by debris from another car in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10. He missed five days while waiting to be cleared and then qualified second, despite limited practice time.

"You feel like you're falling behind," the 27-year-old Canadian said Tuesday at an Indy Car event in Milwaukee, site of a race in August.

"The nature of this sport is, the guys that win are the guys that work harder than the other people. That's in life. That's a pretty universal truth. So, I've always lived by that and I've always worked very hard. I've always tried very hard. It was so counterintuitive that in this case, to do the best job and to try the hardest, it was to do nothing."

After most of Friday's practice was rained out, and one day of qualifying runs on Saturday, Hinchcliffe averaged 230.839 mph in Sunday's qualifying, which was the fastest until Ed Carpenter averaged 231.067 mph as the last driver to attempt to qualify.

"Basically, I had a day," Hinchcliffe said. "If I couldn't have a single run before attempting to qualify, they probably wouldn't have felt comfortable putting me in a car.

"But, I did get one run on Friday and then I think we did one run on Saturday morning. So, I think my first qualifying attempt was like my ninth lap of the month."

Carpenter shared the Milwaukee appearance with Hinchcliffe. Carpenter said he was glad that Hinchcliffe was cleared to race.

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