Honda Indy Toronto Preview
Last year it was shaping up to be defending champion Josef Newgarden’s day. The two-time winner at the Honda Toronto Indy had a third title in his sights Sunday, but on Turn 11 of lap 33, the American hit the wall, allowing Scott Dixon to overtake him for the lead and win the race.
Dixon of New Zealand finished the 85-lap course on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place first, with Simon Pagenaud of France in second and Robert Wickens, from Guelph, Ont., taking part in his first race on Canadian soil in more than a decade, in third.
Honda Indy Toronto Fast Facts
Race weekend: Friday, July 12 - Sunday, July 14
Track: Streets of Toronto's Exhibition Place, an 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street course
Race distance: 85 laps / 151.81 miles
Entry List: Honda Indy Toronto (PDF)
Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.
Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Teams must use one set of primary and one new set of alternate tires in the race.
Twitter: @HondaIndy, @IndyCar, #IndyTO, #IndyCar
Event website: www.HondaIndyToronto.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2018 race winner: Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda)
2018 NTT P1 Award winner: Josef Newgarden (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet), 59.4956 seconds, 108.068 mph
Qualifying record: Gil de Ferran, 57.143 seconds, 110.565 mph, July 17, 1999 (Note: Simon Pagenaud set a qualifying mark of 58.9124 seconds, 109.138 mph, for the current layout in 2017.)
NBCSN television broadcasts: Qualifying, 2 p.m. ET Saturday, July 13 (live); Race, 3 p.m. ET Sunday, July 14, NBCSN/Sportsnet 1 (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Dillon Welch and Robin Miller.
Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Anders Krohn. Jake Query and Nick Yeoman are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Rob Blackman and Rob Howden reporting from the pits. All NTT IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 219, XM 202, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. Live coverage of NTT IndyCar Series qualifying is available on Sirius 219, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.
NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT IndyCar Series practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports' direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, July 12
11:05 - 11:50 a.m. - NTT IndyCar Series practice #1, NBC Sports Gold (live)
3:15 - 4 p.m. - NTT IndyCar Series practice #2, NBC Sports Gold (live)
Saturday, July 13
10:20 - 11:05 a.m. - NTT IndyCar Series practice #3, NBC Sports Gold (live)
2 p.m. - Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), NBCSN (live), NBC Sports Gold (live).
Sunday, July 15
12:15 - 12:45 p.m. - NTT IndyCar Series warmup, NBC Sports Gold (live)
2:57 p.m. - Driver introductions
3:35 p.m. - Command to start engines
3:42 p.m. - Honda Indy Toronto (85 laps/151.81 miles), NBCSN/SportsNet 1 (Live)
HONDA INDY TORONTO PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "I have always been a fan of Toronto. We've had some success there and it's just a really fun course to drive. Not only that, it's a great city and my crew guys and I always have a really good time up there. The fans are always so excited and gracious when we're in town which makes it even better. It was nice to have a bit of a break to relax and work on a strategy for the remainder of the season that we all feel really good about. We have been reviewing a lot of our data from last year's race at Toronto and some things we've learned at road and street courses this year we'd like to try out. We have a solid plan going into the race weekend, and I know my team is putting together a really strong Hitachi Chevy that I can't wait to drive."
MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "I'm looking forward to going back to Toronto this year because it is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. It is a fast street course so hopefully, we will have a good car there and we can have some fun there. Downtown Toronto is really nice and very busy, it reminds me of when I lived in Brazil, so I'm looking forward to having a great time there."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "I'm obviously thrilled to be headed back to Toronto for the next race. This event made me fall in love with IndyCar when I was a kid, and getting to go back there every year is such a privilege. The No. 5 Arrow team has had great pace for several races in a row, we just need that end result to come together, and I can't think of a better place for that to happen than Toronto. We've had podiums and top fives there recently, but we need to make that jump to the top step. After what the Raptors did, I want to bring another big win to the city! #WeTheNorth"
MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "Toronto will be another new track for me, like pretty much all the tracks this year. I've done a day in the simulator - it seems like a tricky street track with a lot of bumps and tight, technical corners. I'm sure it's going to be a big challenge, but I'm very much up for it. I feel like we have some momentum going, even though Road America maybe wasn't the weekend we wanted result-wise. It still feels like we are going in the right direction as a team and also for me, building my experience. I'm really eager to get to Toronto and continue that form, and I really think we can mix it up with the top. We want to execute in all the sessions, have a strong qualifying and then fight at the very top in the race; I think we have what we need to do that. Really, really looking forward to it. Also, of course, it's my teammate's (James Hinchcliffe) home race, so that will be fun, and hopefully both the Arrow SPM cars can be right up there."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "Toronto is a really fun place to go. To be at a racetrack downtown and on the water is really an unbelievable setting for us as drivers. The city has grown so much and it's a great market for us. It's really another classic street course which allows passing zones for the cars. The fans in Toronto - and Canada, in general - are very knowledgeable and you can see that passion come through on race weekends there. I hope we can have a big weekend with the PNC Bank No. 9 car."
FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "Toronto is a good opportunity for us to score some significant points and have a go at another strong result. I've been there before, winning both races on my final weekend in Indy Lights in 2016, and Toronto is also one of my favorite cities in general. It's always slightly easier returning to a track you already know; to that end, Toronto is a bit like St. Pete for me. Looking back at the first half of the season, it seems that street tracks have been probably our biggest strength pace-wise. I'll head into the weekend with high hopes in the NTT DATA Car but also with realistic expectations."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was awesome having a couple of weekends off. I spent a lot of time with my family and had some time to relax, which was really great. But now I'm excited to get back into my Verizon Chevy. Toronto's track is really a technical one that makes it a fun challenge. Toronto is a race that really relies on a solid strategy and we think we have a few things to try out that will help out a lot. Things did not go our way last year there, so we are ready to go back and have a much better race. This season has been difficult for our team, but we are working really hard to improve and make a good run for the championship."
TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "Toronto is one of the nicest street course that we go to, so I always look forward to going there. It is a pretty fun racetrack. I've had a few podiums there so hopefully, we'll be able to have a good result there."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): "I think we should be very competitive at the Honda Indy Toronto. While our street course package has lacked a little this year, I think we can build upon Long Beach and our Toronto setups from last year and make some magic this time around. We have momentum. Our race cars are good and our team is performing at a high level. We are in with a great shot of reaching the top five in the championship or maybe better! It was good to get a break in the schedule and come back rested and focused on the next three races in a row. The guys will be ready, I will be ready, and we're up for the challenge. I'm looking forward to it."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 MOUSER Honda): "I like the Toronto race. The fans are very knowledgeable and the atmosphere at the track and in the city is really great. The circuit is fun and other than my first year, my results have been consistently good. We will have a new primary sponsor for the race, so hopefully, we can have another strong performance at Toronto for Mouser Electronics and the rest of our sponsors and their guests."
SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): "This will be my first time racing at the Honda Indy Toronto track. It will be another weekend of learning a new circuit. All I know about it so far comes from watching videos and speaking with Sebastien (Bourdais) and my engineers. That said, I always enjoy racing on a street circuit and I'm very much looking forward to this one. We struggled a bit at our previous race weekend as things didn't go our way but I'm confident that we can bounce back in Toronto and get back into the Top 10."
ED JONES (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet): "I am really looking forward to Toronto. It is one of my favorite tracks and one of the best events on the calendar. It has been a tough few races, but hopefully, we made some gains in testing and can put that to good use. It is always interesting when we go back to street circuits, but I feel we will be competitive."
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "Toronto is always a great event. I really enjoy both the city and the track. It's one of the most challenging street courses that we go to. It's very unique in the amount of surface changes we encounter during a lap. In some cases, you drive over three different surfaces in one corner so it's difficult to find a setup that is compliant around the entire circuit. Ed Carpenter Racing and I have both had success at Toronto in the past, so we are all really looking forward to this event."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): "We are ready for Toronto. I love this great city with a fantastic atmosphere. We are fresh off a test session in Mid-Ohio which really allowed us to take the time and understand how to attack the second part of the season. I'm personally refreshed and excited to get back to racing after two weeks off. I had the chance to go back to France for two days for a really great car show event mixing vintage cars, elegance and art - all in a castle organized by the luxury brand Richard Mille. It was phenomenal to see the impact of the Indianapolis 500 around the world. I also had the chance to meet with Will Behrends, the artist who has sculpted the faces of the last 30 Indianapolis 500 winners. Let me tell you that it was a very special experience and I can't wait to see the final product on the Borg-Warner (Trophy). I'm really hungry for more racing. We're sitting third in the championship and are in a really good position going forward. My crew and I are excited and focused on executing in the next three weeks to come."
ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): "Toronto was a place that started a really strong second half of the season for us last year with a seventh-place finish followed by consecutive top 10s the next three races. We really need that same momentum again this year. We've spent a lot of time preparing for this race and I'm excited to get our one trip out of the United States started."
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): "Toronto is one of the most exciting races of the season for us due to the energy of the crowd and the city. This weekend kicks off a three-week stretch of critical races, so the whole team and I will be needing to bring our 'A' game. I feel rested and ready and cannot wait to get started."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "I've always really enjoyed racing in Toronto. The Toronto Indy car fanbase is really strong and to add to that, we have a really strong support group with our DHL partners in the area. Our goal is to record our second win at Toronto this time around and get the momentum rolling for the second half of the season."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): "Toronto is a one of my favorite venues. It has a long history of racing and downtown is just gorgeous with a lot of cool restaurants, so I think it's a very popular one on the schedule. The fans are very enthusiastic and the atmosphere is great. We had a Japanese fan club tour a couple of times too, so everyone seems enjoy the Toronto race very much. We had a really good pace (last year) and had a good start, but at same time, we had a small issue during the race, too, and unfortunately, I had an incident. It was really a shame because a podium finish was possible but our competitiveness in the race was encouraging. We should absolutely be competitive again in Toronto. We are trying a new concept this year and it works well in many areas. We haven't shown a great deal of competitiveness on street courses this year, but we are confident we can this time. Street courses are always challenging as there is no margin for error, especially in Toronto which is famous as one of the bumpiest and it is quite tricky as the surface changes multiple times even in a single corner, so to get it right and be consistent is quite challenging, but I like it. Also, the track has a long straight followed by a heavy braking (area) down to the hairpin and that provides a lot of opportunity for overtaking. It's a very exciting race every year so I am really looking forward to the weekend."
SAGE KARAM (No. 31 SmartStop Self Storage Carlin Chevrolet): "I want to thank everyone at Carlin for giving me the opportunity to compete in an Indy car again in the NTT IndyCar Series. I'm extremely excited and grateful to get back behind the wheel on a road course again for the first time since 2015, and I'm thrilled to carry a great sponsor like SmartStop Self Storage on the side of the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet. I'm looking forward to the challenge and working closely with everyone on the team to achieve a successful result and take advantage of this incredible opportunity."
MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): "I'm definitely ready to get back on track at Toronto this weekend in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. I really enjoy driving street circuits like Toronto, and I feel confident with the team's progress this season on these types of tracks. We have a bit of unfinished business after getting knocked out of the race early last year and not being able to continue, but I have a top-10 finish in Toronto and the team had their first top-five finish last year here, so I know we have the potential to get a good result."
COLTON HERTA (No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda): "The Honda Indy Toronto is of my favorite races of the year. I'm really excited to get back behind the wheel of the No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda around a very challenging street course. We're coming off of starting on the pole position, so I am very confident we can have solid pace again."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 UniFirst / Curb Honda): "Toronto is a good place to get back on the podium. We had a strong car last year but had to pit on the last lap from fourth for fuel, so we need to capitalize on what we had last year. I love the city, the track and fans in Toronto."
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