Indy 500 pole winner Hinchcliffe rebuilt himself, better than before accidentSource: WTHR INDIANAPOLIS – Earlier this month of May, IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe lay on his back on a mat at PitFit Training on the northwest side of Indianapolis. His body is surrounded by eight lights. When one of the lights turns green, Hinchcliffe quickly sits up and waves his hand in front of the light to turn it off. He returns to his back before another light turns on in random order every few seconds. The green light signals go for Hinchcliffe in this reaction and core-building exercise. A year after he nearly died in a crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the light is green on the Indianapolis 500 pole winner’s health, IndyCar career and life. “I’ve pushed myself mentally harder than I ever have,” said Hinchcliffe after that early May workout, “which has led me to push myself physically harder than I ever have. I sit here almost a year on from the accident a better person in almost every way.” Turkish get-up, an example of how far Hinchcliffe’s recovery has come. Lying on his back, Hinchcliffe picked up a 35-pound kettle bell and raised it across his body and over his head, while lifting his body up on his other hand – then one knee – then standing up with the kettle bell still overhead. “This is a huge complex exercise, massive load on the core,” explained Leo as Hinchcliffe performed several repetitions. “It just highlights how resilient the body is and what people are capable of,” said Hinchcliffe. “It all comes down to the mindset that you have and the amount of effort and determination you put in to reaching a goal.” “To see him come back to where he is now has got to be one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever been a part of,” said Leo. “His dedication is what made it happen.” Hinchcliffe sat out the rest of the 2015 IndyCar season after his accident. He returned at the start of 2016, with three top 10 finishes and still running at the end of all five races this season. He finished 3rd in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis earlier this month, his best result this year. The 29-year-old Canadian from Toronto, who now lives in Indy, starts on the pole for the 100th running of the Indy 500 Sunday. “A year ago I nearly lost all of this,” said Hinchcliffe. “So to not only be able to get back behind the wheel and try to race the Indy 500 again, but my fitness level is better than it’s ever been.” A stronger James Hinchcliffe sees nothing but positives after lifting a heavy weight of adversity.
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