So Hinchcliffe's disabled vehicle sat broken down on the course as the race went on around him. His Andretti Autosport team was powerless to do anything except wait for another caution flag to get Hinchcliffe towed back to them so they could attempt a repair.
They never got another yellow flag, and Hinchcliffe was stuck the entire race sitting inside his idling car. When it became clear his day was over with roughly 20 laps remaining, he stood up in the cockpit and did an exaggerated stretch that showed some humor in what was clearly a frustrating afternoon — he ran just three laps and left Alabama with a last-place finish.
"It was frustrating to sit there for 75 laps, watching everybody else go around, when you can 't do anything," said Hinchcliffe, who joked if he'd followed NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski's lead and taken his cellphone in the car "I could have at least played Angry Birds or something. I stayed out there the last 15 laps with the safety crew, who are awesome by the way — they were trying everything to get me back."
Dixon could understand Hinchcliffe's frustration and called on IndyCar to make a clear rule about towing cars back to pit lane. He was left on the track for most of last year's Long Beach race and said a fan had to bring him an umbrella for shade.
But in leaving the cars on the course, IndyCar is preventing teams from attempting to get back on track and collect points.
"The rules state, they will tow you back till the last 10 laps of the race, so I don't know what the deal is with that," Dixon said. "I know I was (mad) when that happened to me, and Hinch should be as well. There's a whole lot of the race to go. I thought they were going to tow him back, but we already had a yellow ... I think they get worried about these yellows being too long.