The 28-year-old IndyCar driver discusses his horrific crash during an Indy 500 practice session in May and describes what it was like to get back behind the wheel
MAGGIE GRAY:You were involved in a terrible accident in which you were impaled by a piece of your car. What do you remember about that day?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Honestly, not a lot. I suffered a pretty serious concussion in addition to the leg and pelvis injuries, so most of my memory from that day is gone.
MG:Have you watched footage of the crash?
JH: Yeah, I've watched it a lot. I think because I didn't have any memory of it, I had this fascination with what happened. I interviewed a lot of people to get a grasp of what really happened and what I went through that day.
MG:You returned to the cockpit for a test run on Sept. 28. What was it like to strap in again and drive after your life-threatening injury?
JH: It was so cool. I mean, we're so lucky to be IndyCar drivers in the first place and get to race cars for a living. But then that opportunity almost got taken away, so it makes you appreciate it even more. To have gone through surgery and four months of healing, recuperating and rehabilitation, and then be given the O.K. to strap back in and drive and feel that energy was a humbling experience.
MG:Were you also anxious or a bit nervous?
JH: Honestly, no. I've said this before. I think race car drivers in general ... we're wired wrong. There's something fundamentally not right with the way our minds work. I probably should have been a bit more nervous, but it's such a passion. We do this because we absolutely love it.
For more of Hinchcliffe's interview, plus the SI Now archive, go to SI.com/sinow
"I think race car drivers in general ... we're wired wrong."
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AJ MAST/AP (HINCHCLIFFE)
ETHAN MILLER/GETTY IMAGES (BLISS)
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NAM Y. HUH/AP (ROSE)
KATHY KMONICEK/AP (NASH)