‘Dancing with the Stars 23’ spotlight: Will James Hinchcliffe, Sharna Burgess make it to finish line?


We’re not going to pretend as though we’re the biggest fan of IndyCar racing; as a matter of fact, James Hinchcliffe was one of the few “Dancing with the Stars” contenders for this season we’d never heard of before the cast announcement. That’s no slam on him or his fame within the sport; the only two we’d heard of before were Danica Patrick (who is not even in IndyCar anymore) and Helio Castroneves (who appeared on this show previously).

We’ve come to learn a little bit more about him for this spotlight article, and we’re ready to assess if he has the skills and the personality to make it far on this crazy competition!

Claim to fame – IndyCar driver, and someone who has been a part of the main series for the past several years. He is currently a member of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and he’s also Canadian! Not entirely sure that is a claim to fame per se, given our own personal ties to Ontario it’s nice to see he hails from the province.

Partner – Sharna Burgess. She’s become one of the show’s premier pros over the years, and was even featured in the promo art for this season alongside Artem Chigvintsev. Hopefully, she’ll be the right person to both bring out the dancer in James and also deal with what appears to be a super-crazy schedule.

Strengths – We don’t know what the precise workout regimen is for IndyCar drivers, but James seems to be in fairly good shape and he also should have a loyal following on his side. This is one of those sports where he’ll have the support of many other drivers, and also their fans since he can help to bring more people into the mix. Having Sharna as a partner should also prove useful to him given that she’s worked with a wide array of athletes, whether it be Charlie White or Antonio Brown.

Weaknesses – Helio was able to make a lot of fans based on his goofiness and sense of humor; we certainly think James has the same capacity to win people over, but it’s no guarantee since he’ll be an unknown to many viewers. Also, there’s no guarantee he’ll have any rhythm since this is a completely different world than what he’s used to. When he does perform in front of his fans, he often is in his own zone. Here, he won’t be inside of a car with a helmet on.

Prediction – From what we can tell, James seems to be a really good guy and the sort of person who will embrace the show and have fun with it. Our biggest concern is that, to use a racing pun, he’ll have a slow start and sputter out since he seems extremely busy. This is a tough challenge for any celebrity, and it may be even more of the case when you’re someone coming from a very specific field who needs to attract more of an audience.

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