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James Hinchcliffe stepping away from full-time IndyCar competition, will be NBC Sports analyst

Hinchcliffe wrote that the decision to step back was made with the support of his family.
Credit: AP
FILE- In this June 6, 2020, file photo, James Hinchcliffe prepares for practice at the IndyCar auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Hinchcliffe will return to Andretti Autosport for a full IndyCar season, a huge recovery after the popular Canadian cobbled only six races together last year. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

INDIANAPOLIS — IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe announced he is stepping away from full-time competition and will be working as an NBC Sports analyst.

Hinchcliffe posted a letter on Twitter in which he talks about realizing his lifelong goal of becoming an IndyCar driver in 2011.

"In the 11 years that followed I lived out my dream in a way that a nine year old kid, sitting in a kart for the first time, could never have imagined," Hinchcliffe wrote.

Hinchcliffe also mentions the many ups and downs over the years, which likely includes suffering a serious puncture wound to his lower body in a May 2015 Indianapolis 500 practice crash. The popular Canadian IndyCar driver needed 22 units of blood transfused during surgery to save his life. A big positive came in 2018, when he announced he and actress Becky Dalton were getting married.

Hinchcliffe wrote that the decision to step back was made with the support of his family and that personal and professional factors played a part.

"This is by no means a retirement from racing! If anything, this decision has freed me up to dip my toes into other forms of motorsport and explore other interests and opportunities," Hinchcliffe wrote.

Hinchcliffe won a half dozen races over the years for Andretti Autosport and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. In November, Andretti Autosport announced Devlin DeFrancesco would take Hinchcliffe's spot on the team full-time in 2022.

Hinchcliffe finished his letter saying, "Thanks for the memories and I hope to see you all at the track."

On Thursday, it was reported that Hinchcliffe would became an analyst for NBC Sports.

The Canadian will replace countryman Paul Tracy in the booth and call next year’s 17-race schedule alongside Leigh Diffey and Townsend Bell. 

“I’ve never been shy about saying this was a move I wanted to make at some point in my career and the time was just right,” Hinchcliffe told The Associated Press. “It didn’t just happen overnight. But when I assessed the landscape and took the emotion out of it and looked at it from a 30,000-foot view, it was honestly an easy call.”

He’s previously done pit reporting for NBC Sports, and Hinchcliffe was an analyst last year for some CBS events.