Sunday, July 14, 2019

NTT IndyCar race at the Honda Indy Toronto 2019

Day 3 brings better weather to Exhibition Place and the final day of racing at the 33rd annual Honda Indy Toronto brings plenty of on track excitement, culminating with the 85 lap NTT IndyCar race. The cars will be placed on the starting grid at 2:50pm, driver introductions will take place at 2:57pm, then the green flag goes at 3:42pm on Sunday, July 14, 2019. The cars will have a warm up period just after lunch. Simon Pagenaud, pictured at top, waves to the crowd while standing on his #22 car in the pits after winning the P1 pole position on Saturday. See more of my coverage of the 2019 race on my post here.
Plenty of military in uniform attending, the even get their own grandstands

The Firestone Fast Six were Simon Pagenaud #22 with a time of 58.4293s and a speed of 110.041 mph followed by Scott Dixon #9, Felix Rosenqvist #10, Alexander Rossi #27, Josef Newgarden #2 and at number six is Ed Jones of the number #20 car. James Hincliffe qualified 14th and the last place qualifier was Tony Kanaan of the #14 car.
Team T & J entertain early morning fans at the Winners' Circle 
GT3 cars travel down as they head into the rolling start. The track is already under caution as two cars crash in Turn 3

Video of the trucks jumping during Race 2 on Sunday

Until the afternoon IndyCar race we still have more Indy Lights, USF2000, Indy Pro 2000, GT3 and then at 2pm we have the final Stadium Super Truck race, which is even more special because half of it got cancelled due to Saturday's severe weather delays.
SpongeBob Squarepants at the pre-race ceremonies 
With the race approaching fans head to their seats

The 22 IndyCar drivers taking part will be driving on a IR-18 (or DW12 in honour of the late Dan Wheldon) Dallara chassis, Firestone tires and either a Chevy or Honda engine with Honda being the most prevalent. Fuel for these magnificent beasts is Speedway E85 which is 85% ethanol and 15% racing gasoline.

Tires are by Firestone and in the race teams must use one Primary set and an nes alternate set.
And the race is on!
If you are here with a general admission ticket you should check out the Pinty's Pub and Grill in Turn 1 or the Miller Lite deck at the far end of Thunder Alley, both have their own bars and great views. Inside the Enercare Centre CAA members have a private lounge and I heard they have free water plus it is a place to cool off.

To see drivers and cars up close get a pit pass or paddock ticket or stand outside the Enercare entrance between the Turn 10 grandstand and the trackside suite. Most Indy drivers will be weaving through obstacles on scooters wearing their racesuits.

Andretti Autosports, Carlin and Team Penske have 4 drivers each on their teams. Motorsports powerhouse Team Penske drivers Josef Newgarden (current series leader), Simon Pagenaud and Will Power are always ready to take the checkered flag but don't forget about other drivers like Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon the 2018 winner, Sebastien Bourdais, Alexander Rossi and our hometown fave James Hincliffe. Will Power and Scott Dixon both won the Toronto race three times.

Honda Indy has announced that Canadian driver Robert Wickens will drive a hand controlled Arrow car during pre-race ceremonies as well as give the command for drivers to start their engines.

HIT says "For Wickens, it will be a grand welcome home as he continues his recovery and rehabilitation from injuries sustained in a racing accident last August. A personal highlight of his racing career was finishing third last year in Toronto during his rookie IndyCar season for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports."

And right before the drivers strap in a flyover will take place with fighter jets (CF-18 Hornets) from the 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron from Canadian Forces Base Bagotville.

Simon Pagenaud is leading but is fighting fiercely with Scott Dixon to keep the lead. Only a dozen more laps remain at 5pm and there are still some contenders capable of taking the checkered flag. Takoma Sato of the #30 car had to pit as his car was on fire. He made it out and the fire was quickly extinguished.
P1 winner, Honda Indy 2019 winner Simon Pagenaud steps out of his car as a confetti cannon blasts off
Left to right: Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi on the podium

And a caution came out at the end of the race and they finished 1st Simon Pagenaud, 2nd Scott Dixon and 3rd Alexander Rossi.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

NASCAR at Honda Indy Toronto 2010

Day 2 of #indyto and it's a special day for NASCAR Pinty's Series with their Grand Prix of Toronto race at 5:15pm on Saturday, July 13, 2019. Also on the schedule is IndyCar's qualifications and Firestone Fast 6 awards. See more of my coverage of the 2019 race on my post here.
Update: at 5:45pm the trucks have been pulled and the Porsche sportscars have just gone onto the track (5:50-6:35pm). Racing for NASCAR Pinty's will be from 6:55-8:10pm.

Update: at 5:06pm they said another lightning strike in the area has set back the restart by another half hour. Update: at 4:36pm they said a lightning strike will delay the action at least another 30 minutes. Update: at 4:30pm the Honda Indy says they will let the Stadium Super Trucks finish their race, then keep all scheduled events, just rain delayed. Update: at 4:15pm announcements say that another round of severe weather is on it's way, time to head back inside.
Kids play in the puddle near the Enercare Centre
SST jumping before the rain

A small video clip of the trucks jumping during Race 1

Update: at 3:30pm everyone was told to go inside due to severe weather. The Stadium Super Trucks were halted and people made their way into the closest shelters. By 4:05pm the rain has stopped and people are returning to their vantage points, although the warning still remains and trackside action has not resumed. It looks like more rain is coming from the northwest.

Back to the HIT 2019 Saturday action.
IndyCar final practice - cars are on the track

Drivers are on the track starting at 8:05am with the USF2000 second round of qualifications, then Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000 and the IndyCar final practice and that's just in the morning. Nine Stadium Super Trucks will also be here both Saturday and Sunday with two races so be prepared to be amazed.
The hot tub ladies are back

Yesterday was Fan Friday and a lot of people took advantage of free admission to experience Honda Indy Toronto. Weather on Friday was perfect so hopefully it will remain beautiful for the weekend. On Sunday, July  14 the headline race for the NTT IndyCar Series will take place with cars to the grid at 2:50pm
Toronto's bumpy track caused some issues yesterday, throw in changes of surface from asphalt to slippery concrete and the rest of race weekend will be full of chills and spills.
Alex Tagliani in Victory Circle

As a result of NASCAR Pinty's Series qualifying round Alex Tagliani #18 car takes the pole position for today's race but don't rule out one of the his top challenger driver Andrew Ranger in the #27 car who won 2018's race. You can watch the race on TSN. After a rain soaked and lightning delayed schedule the NASCAR Pinty's Series Grand Prix of Toronto started around 7pm and continued until just after 8pm with Alex Tagliani scoring the victory, followed by Andrew Ranger and L.P. Dumoulin in the #47 car.


Simon wins P1 and clenches his fist in rage celebration

Leading into IndyCar qualifying sees Simon Pagenaud as the fastest racer after 2 practice sessions. This race is definitely open to multiple drivers more than capable of taking home the trophy. Hopefully Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe in the #5 car will get his chance to take the checkered flag on Sunday. The Firestone Fast Six qualifiers were settled and a happy Simon Pagenaud takes the P1 pole position.
Andrew Ranger in turn 1

The 2019 Pinty's Grand Prix of Toronto had 19 cars on the grid and they finished 37 laps of the Exhibition Place/ Lake Shore Boulevard West street course. Alex only had a 0.189 of a second margin of victory over Andrew Ranger. Rounding out the top five finishers were Kevin Lacroix #74 and J.F. Dumoulin of the #04 car. The average race speed was 63.421 mph and the best lap was run by Marc-Antoine Camirand of the #22 car.

IndyCar is fielding 22 cars which makes for tight spacing in the 11- turn street course. Tomorrow's Indy race will be 85 laps and will be shown on Sportsnet ONE.

See more NASCAR after the jump.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fan Friday at Honda Indy Toronto 2019

Day 1 at the Honda Indy. It's like your chevette on jet fuel, with a giant engine in place of the tiny one that normally comes with it, then add an adrenaline fueled athlete that excels at speed on roads that legally top out at 60 kilometres per hour, and there you go, Honda Indy Toronto speedfest weekend is back! And a good day to check it out is Fan Friday brought to you by the Ontario Honda Dealers Association. Free admission with a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada with gates opening at 7:45am on Friday, July 12, 2019. The Honda Indy runs until Sunday, July 14 when the IndyCar headline race takes place. You can more 2019 Honda Indy Toronto updates on my post here.
Track building was complete by Thursday and IndyCar has moved into Pit Lane. The site is ready for Friday's opening

On track action starts at 8am with practices by USF2000, Indy Pro 2000, GT3, Indy Lights, NTT IndyCar Series, NASCAR Pinty's and SST until 1:50pm when some of the qualifications start and continue until 6:50pm. There will be a lot of rubber burned during the day and there will also be a lot of stuff going on off the track with Thunder Alley, SpeedZone, Honda World, Family Rest Zone, activities within the Enercare Centre and the OLG Winners' Circle.

“Festival goers and first time visitors are going to be amazed with all that we have going on this weekend. It’s a schedule jammed with fun on track and off,” said Jeff Atkinson, Honda Indy Toronto President. “We have offered general admission for free to children 12 and under, but now YTV is accelerating the family value of the Honda Indy Toronto by opening the paddock for free to our youngest fans. It will be nearly impossible to do all that we have planned this weekend.”
The Canadian Forces contingent included an armoured personnel carrier
The GO Transit mascot in a drivers suit

Fan Friday free admission
Thunder Alley along Turn 11 grandstands
Stadium Super Trucks line up for their first practice
SST taking flight on Princes' Boulevard

"Expanding on the great activities offered in Honda World and the Honda SpeedZone within Thunder Alley, the Family Rest Zone is a new hot spot on the west end of Thunder Alley just inside turn 4. The turfed, enclosed area will have a sandbox, yard games, sidewalk chalk, colouring murals and Adirondack chairs to kick back and relax. Special guests like SpongeBob SquarePants and Metrolinx Go Bear will visit this area throughout the weekend." SpongeBob will also be the Grand Marshal for the NASCAR Pinty's Series race on Saturday.


See more photos after the jump.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Honda Indy Toronto 2019

Hot times and fast cars crank up the excitement factor in Exhibition Place as the 33rd annual Honda Indy comes back to the streets of Toronto July 12-14, 2019 presented by Green Savoree Racing Promotions. Seven race series will take to the 2.89 km, 11-turn temporary road course beginning Friday with practice sessions, qualifications and featuring several races including Sunday's NTT IndyCar Series 85-lap Honda Indy Toronto headline race with cars on the grid at 2:50pm.
There is almost always work going on in the IndyCar pits all weekend long

Update: NTT IndyCar race at the Honda Indy Toronto 2019 - Sunday coverage
Update: NASCAR at Honda Indy Toronto 2019 - Saturday coverage
Update: Fan Friday 2019
Update: HIT coming and 2019 Track Schedule
Update: 2019 Track Build

The IndyCar Technical Inspection area
IndyCar teams are in the paddock

Opening day has free entrance on Fan Friday with a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada and it's a great way to come out and see what racing is all about. Wander Thunder Alley, Honda SpeedZone, Honda World, the Truck Stop food area, Pinty's Pub & Grill and the Miller Lite Deck. Grab a seat in the grandstands, first come first served, and watch the action on the track. Gates open at 7:45am and racing for the day ends just past 6pm. Pit passes for access into the outdoor area along the track, or pit lane, where pit crews set up their equipment and race cars are sold out at this time but you can buy tickets for the NTT IndyCar Series Paddocks, all other series paddocks are free to visit. The paddock is where they bring the big rig haulers which transport the cars and tools and setup the off track work areas.
Saturday and Sunday entrance is ticketed and you can get General Admission (no grandstand seat at $40/day or $55 for both days) where you can watch the track from Pinty's Pub & Grill or you stand or site beside the fences along Honda World, Princes' Boulevard or at Thunder Alley looking over Lake Shore Boulevard West. General Admission allows children 12 and under free admission, but they have to be with a ticketed adult. 
Turn 11 grandstands

There are also four grandstands (aluminum benches with no roof) at Turns 3, 10 and two at 11 with tickets from $70 to $185. Seats in the grandstand are sold based on how high they are. Lowest grandstand rows are bronze and the least expensive, Silver is the middle rows and the Gold seats are the most expensive but where you can see more of the overall race from the higher vantage point. Tickets in the grandstands will have to be purchased for children.

If you want more luxury you can check out the two covered track side suites with hospitality and VIP packages available. The suites have tables and individual chairs along with food and beverage service.

If this is the first time you have attended the Honda Indy Toronto you should bring in ear plugs (in drug stores or other stores like Canadian Tire), seat cushions, sunscreen and empty water bottles which you can fill up for free when you get into Exhibition Place. Food and beverages are available for purchase on site.
Stadium Super Trucks still on the hauler

The racers are from NTT IndyCar Series, NASCAR Pinty’s Series (2019 season Race 4 of 12 – The Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto), Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, Cooper Tires USF2000 National Championship, Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama. This is the only IndyCar race outside of the United States of America for 2019.
James Hinchcliffe talks about racing in Toronto 
Welcome press conference with (l-r) Jeff Atkinson and IndyCar drivers Felix Rosenqvist, Santino Ferrucci, Marcus Ericsson, James Hinchcliffe, Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon

Welcome press conference driver info:
Jeff Atkinson, President of Honda Indy Toronto
NTT IndyCar Series drivers
Scott Dixon - 2018 and 2013 Honda Indy Toronto race winner
Marcus Ericsson - INDYCAR rookie
Santino Ferrucci - INDYCAR rookie
James Hinchcliffe - 4th place in 2018, 3rd place in 2017 & 2016
Simon Pagenaud - 2019 Indy 500 winner, 2nd place in 2018
Felix Rosenqvist - INDYCAR rookie
IndyCar practice Friday
The Honda Indy Toronto headline race is just over 245km and will include four new IndyCar drivers, the rookies are Marcus Ericsson, Santino Ferrucci, Colton Herta and Felix Rosenqvist. Coming into Toronto, the IndyCar top five drivers with numbers of wins at Toronto in brackets are Josef Newgarden (1x) 402 points, Alexander Rossi 395 points, Simon Pagenuad 341 points, Scott Dixon 308 points (3x) and Will Power (3x) with 294 points. Canada loves the Mayor of Hinchtown, or James Hinchcliffe from Oakville who has finished on the podium in Toronto and look forward to cheering on car 5.

If it was one thing all the drivers could agree on it was that the Toronto course was bumpy. Otherwise they all looked forward to racing in Toronto. James Hinchcliffe loves the fan support and suggested that fans be allowed on the track immediately after the IndyCar race finishes. Simon Pagenaud says that winning the Indy 500 brings a lot of promotion work as the reigning ambassador for the world famous race but he is looking forward to getting into the open wheeled car and just race. Scott Dixon says Toronto is close to a hometown race for him because he is part of the British Commonwealth.

Indy Lights top drivers so far are Oliver Askew 229 points, Rinus VeeKay 226 points, Robert Megennis 186 points, Ryan Norman 184 points and Toby Sowery with 171 points.

Canada's own national stockcar series is back for Saturday's headline race - The Pinty's Grand Prix of Toronto where the top five drivers (Toronto wins in brackets) are Kevin Lacroix (1x) 132 points, Andrew Ranger (3x) 131 points, Alex Tagliani (1x) 112 points, L.P. Dumoulin 111 points and Alex Labbe with 110 points. Saturday's race will have SpongeBob Squarepants as the Grand Marshal.
The Honda Indy website describes the racing series as follows.

"The NTT IndyCar Series is the premier open-wheel racing series in the United States. It offers one of the most diverse and challenging schedules in motorsports with races held on ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street courses. A new aerodynamic body kit was introduced to the series in 2018 at the St. Petersburg opener providing a sleeker, more aggressive-looking Indy car.
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires is the top step of the Road to Indy ladder system for drivers and teams striving to compete in the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. 23 of the 33 starters in the 2018 Indianapolis 500 were Indy Lights graduates, including 11 series champions. The Indy Lights champion receives a three-race IndyCar Series scholarship package valued at $1.1 million which includes the Indy 500.

The Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires is the second step on the Road to Indy, bridging the gap between the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. The series' champion is awarded a scholarship package worth $596,700 to advance to Indy Lights competition the following year. Graduates include Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Graham Rahal.

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship is the first step on the Road to Indy. In addition to providing a vital training ground for rising stars just out of the karting ranks, the series champion will earn a $305,600 scholarship package to advance to the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Drivers who have honed their skills in the series include Indy 500 winners Dan Wheldon, Sam Hornish Jr. and Buddy Rice.
NASCAR Pinty's Series stockcars take to the track
NASCAR Pinty’s Series runs a 12-race schedule in Canada and the northern United States on both road courses and ovals providing a great test for the drivers and teams. Some of the top perennial contenders include reigning series champion L.P. Dumoulin plus Mark Dilley, Jason Hathaway, D.J. Kennington, Alex Labbe, Kevin Lacroix, Andrew Ranger, last year’s Toronto race winner, and Alex Tagliani, also a favourite to win again in the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto.

Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks return after a two-year absence. This fan favourite will certainly add to the thrills of the on track action for festival-goers. These high-flying trucks will race across jumps and power down the streets surrounding Exhibition Place one again.

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama is a single-make racing series based in North America using Porsche 911 GT3s. The series produces intense, exciting competition for semi-professional and aspiring professional drivers in the world’s most produced and iconic race car, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup."

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs

Pride

Redball

Beaches

Graffiti

Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square

Transportation