Canadian rookie Hinchcliffe earns first Atlantic win

Updated: June 18, 2006, 3:41 PM ET
Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Canadian rookie James Hinchcliffe scored his first Atlantic series victory Sunday at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, taking advantage when leader Ryan Lewis lost his gearbox on the final lap.

"I just couldn't believe it. One lap to go, and something was happening to Ryan," Hinchcliffe said.

Lewis, an Englishman who drives for Mi-Jack Conquest Racing, led by as many as 8 seconds on the 1.964-mile road course at Portland International Raceway. But he suddenly lost his third and fourth gears on the final lap.

"So I ended up with only second and fifth," he said.

After leading for 31 of the 40 laps in the race, Lewis limped across the finish line in second, 4.120 seconds behind Hinchcliffe. German Andreas Wirth, who won earlier this season at Long Beach and Houston, finished third and extended his lead in points (109) for the series championship.

Hinchcliffe, who drives for Forsythe Racing, finished third at Long Beach.

Pole sitter Graham Rahal, son of racing legend Bobby Rahal, was knocked out of the race before the first lap was complete when he was hit from behind by fellow rookie Simon Pagenaud of France.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press