The 100th Indy 500: Q&A with James Hinchcliffe 

On beer, Steve Harvey and hanging with Pat McAfee

INDYCAR’s “most eligible bachelor” has been busy on and off the track lately. He’s appeared at Indiana’s Next Hop Model, was part of the INDYCAR “family” for an episode of Steve Harvey’s Celebrity Family Feud, as well as taken part in a “dating game” style experience for the Summer Of Steve on the Steve Harvey Show. In this interview we talk Family Feud, his beer with Flat 12, living with Conor Daly, and Pat McAfee.

click to enlarge Hinch hosting NUVO's Next Hop Model event. - FILE PHOTO/NUVO STREET TEAM
  • Hinch hosting NUVO's Next Hop Model event.
  • File photo/NUVO Street Team

NUVO: How did the opportunity on the Steve Harvey show come about?

Hinchcliffe: It came about from meeting Steve when me and some other drivers went on Celebrity Family Feud.

NUVO: How was that experience for you?

Hinchcliffe: It was interesting. It wasn’t something I ever thought I would sign up to do, but he kinda talked me into it. It was fun you know? It was a fun experience. It’s a different way to meet people. In my line of work, it’s sometimes tough to meet people. So we gave it a shot, and I was one to give it a try.

NUVO: Will any of the dates be coming to the race?

Hinchcliffe: I will not be bringing any dates to the race this year.

NUVO: Speaking of Family Feud, is that a show you’ve watched growing up?

Hinchcliffe: Not even growing up, I still watch that show. It’s just one of those shows that’s easy to put on when you’re at home and maybe cooking dinner or something like that. Just chuck on some Family Feud, I find Steve Harvey hilarious. You can always find it somewhere.

NUVO: You’ve had your own beer through Flat 12 for some time now, how long have you been doing that?

Hinchcliffe: I wanna say since 2012, we met through a mutual friend. We came up with the idea for doing an event beer through the month of May. So I went into the brewery, we came up with what we want it to be, and came up with a recipe. We had a twitter contest to come up with the name. It was just supposed to be a kind of fun, one off thing but it was pretty popular. We decided to bring it back the following May. By the end of the month, Sean O’Connor (owner of Flat 12) decided he wanted to make it a more permanent thing. So we started brewing it en masse and now it’s in store and in bars around town.

NUVO: So, it’s the same recipe as the original?

Hinchcliffe: Yes, and then for this year did a special one off here just for the month of May, to try to pay homage to the 100th running of the race. This one is an IPA (Hammerdown is a pilsner), it’s called “The Bricks”, only on sale at the brewery. To pay homage to the race we brewed it with centennial hops that has an IBU of 100.

NUVO: Poutine or ketchup chips?

Hinchcliffe: Aww man, that depends. It’s a very situational thing. If I had to choose right now, I’d have to go with ketchup chips.

NUVO: How is it living with Conor Daly?

Hinchcliffe: It’s great man. When I first moved to Indy, I rented a room from a mechanic of mine. I know what it’s like to be in that situation. He was still living at home, but wanted to step out and kinda become his own man a little bit. I was more than happy to step in and kinda play that big brother role.

NUVO: Does the competitiveness from the track carry over at home at all?

Hinchcliffe No, we get along amazingly well in that sense. We got a lot in common, but there are things we do differently and we complement each other in that sense.

NUVO: On the other hand, does it add to the competitiveness, or make it more fun on the track?

Hinchcliffe: Yeah, it’s always more fun racing a friends. That’s why I always tried to be that guy that tries to make friends with everybody on the series. I’m closer to some than others, obviously Conor is up there on that list. A lot of these guys are like brothers to me.

NUVO: You’re one of the funnier guys in the series. Pat McAfee is around the track a lot and has done some shows on stage. Have you ever considered doing a show with him or anything?

Hinchclffe: That’s actually been talked about loosely talked about. I don’t quite know if I have the chops for that like Pat. He’s definitely a funny guy. I haven’t had the chance to check out one of his shows yet, but I’d love to see that. If he wants to do that in the future, I’d be willing to give it a crack.

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