Josef Newgarden, using great pitstop strategy, led the most laps to win the Honda Indy Toronto race in his Penske Chevy. Once in the lead, Newgarden controlled the race at the front to Alexander Rossi who came home 2nd in his Andretti Honda, his highest finish since winning the 2017 Indy 500.
Local favorite James Hinchcliffe was third for the final podium position.
Marco Andretti and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top-5.
In the 11-turn, 1.786-mile street circuit, Rossi had speed throughout the day and improved on his P8 starting position with quick pit stops and a fortunate yellow.
"I knew when we made the decision to pit, James was really struggling," Rossi said when asked about the first pit stop on lap 23. "We pitted not because we were anticipating a yellow. We pitted because we wanted to get clean air."
"We made the most of the out-lap because we jumped all the guys that stayed out longer than us," Rossi continued. "That was the key moment of the race. The yellow coming was just good fortune."
The yellow was for Tony Kanaan in the tire barriers, and Rossi shuffled up to fourth, behind eventual race winner Josef Newgarden, who had made his pit stop at the same time as Rossi, and Charlie Kimball and Ed Jones, who had not yet made pit stops. After a few more laps, Rossi was P2, and held it easily for the remainder of the race.
"Thrilled to finally get a podium for all the hard work Alex and the whole 98 NAPA team has been putting in this year," said Rob Edwards, Strategist for No. 98 and Chief Operating Officer for Andretti Autosport. "Pit strategy worked and a yellow flag fell into our lap, but once we were running up front, the car and Alex had the pace to stay there and be strong. Looking forward to building on this and getting a win before the end of season."
It was a long weekend to forget for the Dale Coyne Racing team at the Honda Indy Toronto with Esteban Gutierrez coming back from a qualifying crash on Saturday to finish 14th and Ed Jones suffering an oil line issue that ended his race with 10 laps remaining.
Earlier in the day, Gutierrez was cleared to drive after being re-evaluated by INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Michael Olinger. The driver of the #18 Unifin car had experienced concussion-like symptoms following his crash.
With the car suffering damage to the tub in the crash, the team was forced to turn to its unbuilt spare car and build a new one from scratch. Fortunately for him, the #18 and 19 crews joined forces, and 100 man hours later the car was ready for morning warm-up.
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): "The DXC Technology Chevrolet was tremendous all weekend. We just didn't get that first stop in before the yellow like Josef (Newgarden) did. Overall, it was a good weekend for us. We made up some ground in points and it's always great to visit Toronto. Congratulations to the No. 2 team and all of Team Penske."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): "I think that is twice I have had good calls and got into the pits at the right time. Thank you to the guys and thank you to Tim (Cindric) for making that call. We got it right, but it was all about managing the race after that. I thought we had a very fast car, we got a pretty good start, and stayed out of the mayhem. Very, very happy for all of Team Penske, and this DeVilbiss Chevy was pretty bright, but it was pretty fast too. I am pumped for all the No. 2 car guys today, they did an amazing job for Team Penske today."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): (About his pass for the lead at the start): "In 1997 I did a move in the No. 3 Hitachi Chevy like that in Indy Lights when I was driving here. It was really funny - because I'm like, 'Man, I'm going to go for it.' As soon as we were braking, we had the reds (Firestone alternate tires) and the car was really good. I didn't lock (the brakes) or anything - it was a clean pass. I told the guys, 'Listen, I'm going to be fair, but if there is an opportunity I'll take it.' Great job - great job to everybody at Team Penske and to Josef (Newgarden). Obviously, the yellow there was a little tough, but I'll tell you what, our cars are good and this place is always like that. Whoever is in the lead sometimes gets caught with the yellow and gets the bad side of it."
CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "The car was pretty good, but we have to look at everything because I have no idea why the car was so slow down the straight. It might not be a power thing, might just be we had too much downforce, because the car was good by myself, but we were just a sitting duck down the straights. It was difficult to defend and attack. I was on the limiter halfway down the straight. I think the car was better than where we finished."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "The yellow just came at the right time, but we had the pace at the end there. We were catching Alexander (Rossi) and Josef (Newgarden) in that last stint. The car really came alive on the blacks, so big thanks to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, all the guys - great stops - and all the fans in Toronto. I mean the support that we feel each and every year is amazing. You guys are the best. You came even when the weather wasn't looking awesome and hung out with us and we appreciate it. So thanks to all of you guys. Next year, maybe a couple of spots better."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 7 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "I feel like that is a very successful weekend in the books. I'm very appreciative of the whole Schmidt Peterson Motorsports organization for taking me in and just making me feel like I'm home. I felt the same throughout the race and had a pretty solid car. We kept clean for the first stint, just tried to stay away from trouble, and when I started pushing, the car was there for me. Great strategy from the SPM guys and getting me out of those reds (Firestone alternate tires) and getting me some free time for me to do my thing. It played off perfectly with those yellows, and we managed to get in with the guys up front, which changed the speed of the race for us. We had the car to do it. We're proud of the pit stops, proud of the strategy and of course having a good car makes my life as a driver a lot easier."
MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): "I'm happy with the result on the No. 8 Gallagher car today here in Toronto. It was a bit of a wild race and it seemed to fly by, but on the whole I'm happy with the result. The Gallagher crew did some very fast and clean stops. We stayed out of trouble and we maintained our position in the championship. I think we even managed to pull away from the people behind us in the standings."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda): "It was a rough day in the NTT Data car. I had a good start in Turn 1, and it looked like (Graham) Rahal decided to shift lanes and I had to avoid him. Then (Will) Power and I got together and ended up cutting down our tire and doing some damage to the suspension on the car. Then we had to fix the car and INDYCAR gave us a drive-through penalty, which was kind of odd. And then that kind of hosed our best efforts for the day and we ended up 10th."
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): "It's just such a letdown to finish where we did today. The No. 10 NTT Data Honda was so quick. I came off of pit lane pushing hard on cold tires into Turn 1 after our first stop and just didn't make the turn. I don't think the bumpiness of the track in that area helped either. After the front wing change, we just couldn't ever get those two laps we lost back. I'm really frustrated for the No. 10 car, because we have so much potential most races and we just can't catch a break."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was a really disappointing day for the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet team. We had a strong car all weekend and I know it could have been really fast during the race. We had bad luck on the first lap and it ruined the rest of the race since we could not get it repaired to go back out. We've performed really well at Toronto in the past, so we're just disappointed we couldn't give the fans at Toronto the show we knew we could put on."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "Not the race we wanted really. We were lucky on the first yellow, but after that, nothing came our way with the other yellows. There's nothing to do but just keep working hard."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rousseau Metal Honda): "I got the call after we passed pit in. (Josef) Newgarden was just lucky because he was falling off the train of the three of us (Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and me). He was 2.5 seconds behind us, or just enough to get the call. When they said to me 'Pit, pit' I was turning into Turn 9. Obviously, I can't see what's going on in Turn 1. We played it right today, but got unlucky. The three best cars didn't win the race or finish 1-2-3. There was nobody that was a match for the three of us all day. It's a shame, but sometimes luck plays a role in these things. Congrats to Josef (Newgarden), he still brought it home, but you could see in the first stint that Simon, Helio and myself were taking off and I felt that was a pretty easy pace for us to maintain and go from there. Obviously, I'm disappointed for the Rousseau team. I'm happy for our United Rentals Turns for Troops (lap completed) program. We raised another several thousand dollars to help our veterans. But I'm frustrated because today was a day we should have easily gained a lot of points on (Scott) Dixon, Newgarden and everybody else, but unfortunately the way the officials have decided to close the pits these days, luck plays a huge factor and today it bit us. We got it home and got another top 10, but I'm disappointed, and rightly so, and our guys are too. They know the car that we put on the track today was a car that was capable of winning this race. The guys did a great job in the pits, and I think we have proven that the No. 15 is one of the cars to beat each and every single weekend and probably legitimately one of the few that can take it to Penske every weekend. I'm just extremely proud of this organization."
ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ (No. 18 UNIFIN Honda): "It was a very difficult weekend, but in another way it was quite positive because the gap with the guys in front has been improving race by race. We saw here that we had good potential in qualifying. Unfortunately we had the crash which was a big reset for us, because coming into the warm up with a new car, I was not feeling completely 100 percent. We had to make some adjustments for the race. We fell back a little bit with the crash in qualifying, but looking at the pace, looking at how the race went on, we can take some positives from that. I really want to thank the team because it was a big job to build up the car. I appreciate all their effort and all their work. Today the car was really good and everything was working well. To put together a car from scratch and to put it on the track and to have everything running well, it's quite challenging so thank you to them."
ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "It was a frustrating day. In the first stint, we were picked up quite a few spots passing cars and I feel like we had the pace to be in the top six. We got unlucky by the caution and that's what sent us to the back. We tried to gamble a bit for rain, but that didn't work out. At the end of the day, we had an oil line issue so it wouldn't have worked out anyway. It was frustrating, but it was good to see that we had a lot of potential and we'll try to carry that forward to Mid-Ohio."
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet): "The race started off really well. It was tough initially to keep everyone behind me when we were on blacks (Firestone primary tires) and everyone else was on reds (Firestone alternate tires) at the start. It kind of came to us and we were able to pass a lot of guys and work our way up to fourth or fifth by the end of the first stint. The yellow was going to be bad timing for us anyway, but after that restart I had some contact with Sato. His wing cut my left rear tire. We had to make a stop for that and that put us in the back for the rest of the race. We never caught another yellow to make up for it. Another promising race that went the wrong way for us. Overall, I'm really happy with everything the Fuzzy's Vodka guys did, a big thanks to them."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): "I thought we were looking good to save fuel and go long on that first stint if we didn't get hit with that first yellow. At that point, we were just stuck in the back, saving fuel for the rest of the race. A bummer because we definitely made some progress this weekend, had a much better start and we were looking on the racey side. We'll have to wait for the next one."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): "I'm disappointed with the way the race turned out today. We made a good start, and made a few positions up. Just after the yellow, coming to Turn 3 I was outside, and then in Turn 4 I was inside alongside (Spencer) Pigot and he just turned into me. I was sandwiched by him and the wall and I had nowhere to go. We tangled and we got a puncture and that was it. After that there wasn't another yellow, so I tried to catch up with the field and overtake a few cars, but couldn't get there. It's a shame; the car worked really well. I think we were one of the strongest of the group in the field in terms of the pace, so it's really a shame."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda): "I think (it seemed like) we were quiet all weekend because we got hosed by that yellow in qualifying. But, I think our pace was actually about sixth or seventh, so we're happy to come away with a fourth. My engineer did a good job with the car. We were really balanced. I could really wring it out and we saved fuel at the end. I had a good car here in Toronto. I'm happy for the UFD team; the boys did a great job for us all day in the pits."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "We had a bit of a handful today, for sure. The result was a good turnaround, though. Really nice good job by Alex (Rossi), finishing second and Marco (Andretti) grabbing fourth. We had a great battle with Simon (Pagenaud). I was almost able to hold him off to keep fifth, but we just couldn't keep it and finished sixth. I just got too loose at the end. I think I burnt the rears off trying to catch Marco. That's the way it goes, though. Overall, it was a pretty good day and a good turnaround from last year."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Honda): "Obviously not what we expected or wanted for the No. 83 car here in Toronto. I felt like we were behind the 8-ball all weekend. We were making positive changes to the car, but we weren't seeing the improvements on track during practice or qualifying. The race just didn't play out for our strategy and we didn't catch the yellow we needed. Regardless, it was nice to have the Novo Nordisk Honda up front for a few laps. We'll just refocus and head to Mid-Ohio where the No. 83 car has some good memories."
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Andretti Autosport/Curb Honda):
|Rossi happy with 2nd|
"This finish has been a long time coming. We had the Indy win, but I've been looking for that first podium and hopefully this will be a foundation to go and chase more wins. I'm relieved that we finally kind of got the monkey off our back. It was a huge turnaround overnight by Andretti Autosport to get the car where it needed to be for the race today. Qualifying was a huge effort for the whole team. I'm very proud of Honda for the effort they've made. As we've said, this year has been a huge turnaround. Big shout out to the Toronto fans for coming out to the race. It really is amazing coming here, and hopefully we can carry this momentum on to Mid-Ohio and get a win."
|18||20||Spencer Pigot||84||1 LAPS||8.8862||1:00.938||0||13||105.510||Chevy|
|19||10||Tony Kanaan||83||2 LAPS||1 LAPS||1:00.711||0||14||105.904||Honda|
Winner's average speed: 95.790 mph
Time of Race: 1:35:05.3522
Margin of victory: 1.8704 seconds
Cautions: 2 for 9 laps
Lead changes: 4 among 4 drivers
Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Scott Dixon 423, Castroneves 420, Pagenaud 404, Newgarden 400, Power 359, Rahal 359, Sato 351, Rossi 330, Kanaan 306, Hinchcliffe 297.