James Hinchcliffe had to sweat out a few agonizing minutes of being in jeopardy, but he and pro partner Sharna Burgess have advanced to the fifth week of competition on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Despite logging the second-highest judges’ score Monday with their quick step on Cirque du Soleil theme night, including a perfect 10 rating from judge Bruno Tonioli, Hinchcliffe and Burgess found themselves among three celebrity/pro dancer couples facing elimination at the end of Tuesday’s results show on ABC.
Show host Tom Bergeron was stunned when he announced that Hinchcliffe and Burgess were in jeopardy. The live studio audience voiced its displeasure as well.
Rapper Vanilla Ice and pro partner Witney Carson wound up being the couple eliminated when the combination of judges’ scores and fan votes were tallied. They joined Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker, who were eliminated earlier in Tuesday’s show after posting the lowest judges’ scores Monday.
Nine couples remain in the competition. Hinchcliffe, the Verizon IndyCar Series driver with four career race wins, is one of three male celebrities remaining, along with retired NFL wide receiver Calvin Johnson Jr. and Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.
Week 5 of the hit dance competition show returns at 8 p.m. ET Monday on ABC. In the meantime, Hinchcliffe and Burgess are scheduled to appear Thursday on the syndicated “Hollywood Today Live.” Visit http://hollywoodtodaylive.com/locations to check on local affiliates carrying the show and air times.
Kanaan, Montoya added to Race Of Champions roster
Tony Kanaan and Juan Pablo Montoya, each an Indy car series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, will join another Verizon IndyCar Series driver with the same lofty credentials – Ryan Hunter-Reay – in the prestigious Race Of Champions to be held on American soil for the first time in January.
The event pitting drivers from multiple racing disciplines in individual and national team competitions using identical cars will take place on a specially designed circuit inside Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball. Hunter-Reay, the 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2014 Indy 500 winner, was previously named to the event.
Kanaan and Montoya were added to the field of competitors this week. Hunter-Reay, Kanaan and Montoya are all South Florida residents and will act as pseudo-hosts for the event.
“I’m really looking forward to competing in my first Race Of Champions,” said Montoya, the 1999 CART champion and two-time Indy 500 winner (2000, 2015). “It’s an event I’ve always wanted to do and to be able to race here at home in Miami makes it even more special. I actually won my first international race in America here in Miami – in the Barber Pro Series in 1994.”
For Kanaan, it will be a second appearance in the Race Of Champions. The 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner also competed in the event in the same year as his 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series title.
“I absolutely loved when I raced at the Race Of Champions in France back in 2004 and I always wanted to do it again,” Kanaan said. “I live in Miami, so having the race here in my backyard is the perfect opportunity to be part of it and to race against the biggest names from motorsport around the world. I’m looking forward to seeing what ROC has put together for us to race at the Marlins Park.”
Other drivers confirmed to participate include four-time Formula One champion Sebastien Vettel, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch and action sports star Travis Pastrana.
“The Race Of Champions is such a unique event, bringing together the top drivers from the main series around the world and from different generations,” Montoya said. “When I was racing in Formula One, Sebastian Vettel was a young talent in Formula BMW, now he is a four-time world champion.
"We are all top drivers, all very competitive and with lots of respect for each other. So it would be very special to be able to win here in Miami, where I hope I will have a lot of support from the many local fans.”
‘Lionheart’ book offered at reduced price
To help commemorate the upcoming five-year anniversary of his tragic death at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the publisher of “Lionheart – Remembering Dan Wheldon” is offering the book about the charismatic INDYCAR driver at a reduced price of $49.95.
Wheldon, the 2005 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, touched many lives and left behind an extraordinary legacy. “Lionheart” is a 216-page compilation of personal, emotional and humorous stories from those who knew him best, accompanied by stunning photography.
The book is available by clicking here. Proceeds go to the Dan Wheldon Foundation, which continues the charitable work he began, and the Alzheimer’s Association, a charity Wheldon proudly supported when his mother was stricken with the disease.