Editor’s note: This interview was conducted last week, before James Hinchcliffe’s crash that resulted in injury. We wish him a speedy recovery.
The next best thing to going drinking with James Hinchcliffe is talking to him about going drinking. The IndyCar fan favorite just released a new can design for his three-year-old Hinchtown Hammer Down pilsner produced by Flat 12 Bierwerks. Turns out, this guy doesn’t need a few before loosening up.
What was your first beer?
My dad let me try a sip of his Heineken when I was 5, and that put me off of beer for a while. It didn’t really suit the palate.
How many is too many the night before a race?
Any. You’re so focused on hydrating, and beer has a counter-effect. It’s a Sunday-night, post-race kind of thing.
Who’s your drinking buddy?
Not one in particular. We’re fortunate that a lot of the guys get along like family.
Which driver can hold his liquor the best?
Marco [Andretti]’s not bad.
When is too early in the day for a beer?
Depends on the day. If you’re up at the cottage, 11 a.m. But on Fast Friday or Carb Day, there’s nothing wrong with a beer at breakfast.
Have you ever sent someone a drink across a bar?
I’m sure that I have. It was probably at Road America in the famous Seibkens bar [in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin], and I was sending it to one of my racing heroes.
Ever bought the bar a round?
I have, yes. In Japan, in 2011. It was a shot of something. It wasn’t the first round, for sure.
Uber or taxi at the end of a long night?
Uber. Way more reliable.