IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe didn't appear on many fans' radar screens as a potential Mirrorball Trophy contender when "Dancing With The Stars" season 23 premiered in September on ABC, but don't be surprised if he and pro partner Sharna Burgess quickstep away with the title on Nov. 22.

James Hinchcliffe, Sharna Burgess deserving from the start of 'DWTS' season 23

Hinchcliffe, 29, and Burgess began their "DWTS" 2016 tenure with a bang when their week one foxtrot to "Live Life" earned them a tie for the top spot on the leaderboard with preseason favorites Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

Advertisement

Despite entering the competition will virtually no dance experience, from then onward Hinchcliffe impressed judges Len Goodman, Julianne Hough, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and a handful of guest panelists virtually every week. He earned what was perhaps the highest bit of praise of all from Hough, who proclaimed him "hands down the best male dancer we're ever had on ["Dancing with the Stars"] following the duo's Latin Night rumba.

Bumps in the 'DWTS' road

Although James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess have earned the second-most judges' points during their time on "Dancing with the Stars" season 23 --Hernandez and Chmerkovskiy have three more overall-- their success didn't come without a significant trial when Burgess was forced to sit out two live shows after sustaining a potentially serious knee injury.

Hinchcliffe could have struggled to adapt to interim partner Jenna Johnson, but he didn't. Their first routine together --a Suicide Squad inspired Viennese waltz created by Burgess-- went viral, showing the driver's dedication to the competition.

On night one of the "DWTS" season 23 finale, Hinchcliffe and Burgess are slated to perform two dances: a Redemption Round foxtrot to "It Had to Be You," and a freestyle routine. Although they won't give away too many details regarding their planned freestyle to the wordless "Beethoven's 5 Secrets," Hinchcliffe told ET that it's "very special" and Burgess promised that it would be unlike any other freestyle previous performed on "Dancing with the Stars." If they escape elimination at the close of the Nov.

Advertisement
Top Videos of the Day

21 show, they'll dance a 24-hour fusion challenge routine on Nov. 22 for one last round of judges' scores.

To see if James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess capture the "Dancing with the Stars" season 23 title, tune in to Tuesday's results show on ABC.