Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday at the races - @HondaIndy 2014

Saturday's loss is Sunday's gain as the weekend 2inTO has become 2in1day! Starting early in the morning the typical race of 85 laps or two hours will be reduced to help the drivers and teams survive the grueling Sunday, one-two race combination on the streets of Toronto. Verizon IndyCar series mascot Firehawk gives his two thumbs up (photo at top).  Overall it was an impressive display of racing during the whole weekend and the crowds, from FAN Friday to the last day on Sunday were quite large.
Minor precipitation starting around noon Saturday became a downpour that forced the the series to move the dates of the scheduled race around the 11-turn, 1.75 mile circuit. Sunday weather forecasts unfortunately contain some precipitation described as light rain and isolated which will hopefully hold off until the motorfest and other festivals have finished.
Driver James Hinchcliffe #27 is interviewed by Sportsnet reporter Todd Lewis. James finished 8th in the first race.

"Due to inclement weather, the Verizon IndyCar Series postponed its Saturday race one. The Honda Indy Toronto will now hold two Verizon IndyCar Series races on Sunday. The races will both be 65 laps or 80 minutes each, whichever comes first. Race one will take place at 10:30 a.m. and will be a rolling start. Race two will take place at 4:15 p.m. and will be a standing start. This is the first time in the history of the event and in Canada that two INDYCAR races will be held in one day. We will honour all Saturday tickets with a Sunday general admission ticket, and will provide kiosks for these fans at the entry gates. An email will be sent directly to our customer database with further details. Information will also be posted on our social media sites. Gates for the Honda Indy Toronto will open at 8 a.m. We are doing this for our fans. It’s a lot of racing and it’s good racing. Thank you for your patience and continued support."
Indy Lights coming out of turn 3

The day started off really nice even though rain was falling to the west of Toronto, eventually light rain started falling during the second IndyCar race in the late afternoon, however it didn't last too long and the track quickly dried up. Sunday's original schedule was thrown out the window and the entire day was rearranged to accommodate the new one day IndyCar and USF2000 double headers. The IndyCar pre-race ceremony was reduced for race one and the winners at victory circle did not spray any champagne.

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Sunday was full slate of events with an Indy Lights race, two Pirelli World Challenge (WC) races pictured above, two USF2000 races, two IndyCar races, the final Stadium Super Trucks (SST) race and the final F1600 race. Off track, the highly anticipated Toronto Sun Grid Girl contest was to take place after the post race #1 IndyCar Victory Circle celebration. There was also a couple of rounds of driver autograph sessions which were held in their team areas in the IndyCar paddock.
IndyCars waiting to enter Pit Lane from Gasoline Alley, looking towards Princes' Gates.
Retired IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti remains with CGRT and provided advice to the team.
Paul Tracy, or the Thrill from West Hill moves from his sports commentator roles and climbs back into a TRAXXAS-sponsored Formula Off-Road Stadium Super Truck. After crashing during his 2013 foray into the high-flying truck series, he joins eight competitors in the race. The four 36 inch jumps provide a surface where trucks blast 20 feet into the air and don't hit ground for a considerable distance. The new time for the trucks jumping is 2:30 pm to 3:00 pm.

"Sheldon Creed, 16, who won one of last year’s two races at Toronto, will drive another TRAXXAS-sponsored SST and will be joined in the field by 2014 series’ winners Apdaly Lopez and Robby Gordon. Series regular Scotty Steele, 16, as well as Nick Vanis and Aaron Baumbach return to the TRAXXAS series along with Bill Hynes who is making his series debut."
Off the track make sure to catch the Toronto Sun Grid Girls who will compete for the title Miss Honda Indy on Sunday, July 20 from noon to 2 pm at Victory Circle. You can also find ladies of the Honda Indy Toronto 2014 on my post here.
Contest judges from UFD

IndyCars are positioned along the far side of Pit Lane when drivers are instructed to get to their cars. Final preparations involving fire masks and helmets are completed and the drivers squeeze into their cars and the steering wheels are added one they are in place. After the opening ceremonies and national anthems (Canadian and American) drivers are given the famous instruction to start their cars. Three cars stalled but then got their engines turning and entered the rolling grid. For this race cars were alloted only 69.5 gallons of fuel and the race begins when the cars go by the flag stand for the third time.
A full course blockage in lap one puts a temporary hold on the cars before the race gets underway under yellow in the second lap and full green in the fourth lap. Bourdais #11 leads in the first lap and continues leading for most of the race and ends with his first win of 2014 in the first race of 65 laps by a margin of only 3.3408 seconds. Helio Castroneves #3 comes second and finishing in third is Tony Kanaan #10.
Tony Kanaan congratulates Sebastian Bourdais
The confetti cannon launches in Victory Circle

Sebastien says of the win "It's really sweet. That didn't come easy. WE had to fight and wait for it for a long time but today was just one of those days when the stars align. I guess I was not expecting it because here I know how things can go."
Helio Castroneves #2 takes the lead for the initial few laps before losing his place to Will Power #12 in lap 14. Driver James Hinchliffe #27 hits Juan Pablo Montoya #2 early in the race but is able to continue. Mike Conway #20 takes the checkered flag in lap 56 to end the double-header, followed by Tony Kanaan #10 and Will Power #12. Mike has won two races in 2014 and races for owner/driver Ed Carpenter. Tony's second place sent him to the podium twice during this weekend.
Mike credits part of his win to the decision to change from rain tires to slicks which benefited him greatly as the track dried out. During the light rain the conditions were tricky for driving as part of the track, especially the concrete, felt like ice. Team owner Ed Carpenter said that Mike is one hell of a racer and he made the right call. Teams were confused by IndyCar's use of the red flag on a timed race and conceded that more communication is needed on non-standard issue like this.

During the post race press conference Tony Kanaan jokingly asks if IndyCar wanted them to race again on Sunday after completing the 2in1day double-header. He did admit as he gets older it takes him awhile to recover from the race and he appreciates fans for staying for the racing. Tony took over the #10 car from Dario Francitti after he suddenly retired due to injuries. He says that one of the best things that owner Chip has done was to keep Dario on board for advice.

At the start for pole position Will Power was moved to the back of the race for some reason he has not figured out. His qualification time, used for start position, was suddenly changed so he felt the element of surprise was awesome.
The view from Turn 10 grandstands provides a great view of the S bend

Winners of Race #1, l-r Helio Castroneves (2nd), Sebastien Bourdais (1st) and Tony Kanaan (3rd)
An SST goes up on two wheels
Mike Conway #20 comes out of the pits
Umbrellas come out in the rain during race #2
Race #2 winners, l-r Tony Kanaan (2nd), Mike Conway (1st) and Helio Castroneves (3rd)

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