Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday at @hondaindy Toronto 2015

Cars are back on the track at 8:00am as the second day of Motorfest starts. Friday's IndyCar practice rounds have Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden as the fastest drivers - so far. This was based on the first practice because the second practice was cancelled due to the rain. Montoya says "it's exciting to be in my second year back and leading the points though it doesn't guarantee anything." Saturday qualifying results place Will Power in the pole position (his fifth of 2015 and the 41st of his IndyCar career), with Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya rounding out the top three.
The drivers are in the middle of a ten weeks of racing and are getting mentally and physically tired. With no room for error the Toronto track can be a tough slog in the best of conditions and with a wet track the crash count may be a little high. There are twenty three qualifying drivers at the Honda Indy Toronto 2015 with Team Penske running all three of the top qualifiers.
Tomorrow's Verizon IndyCar headline race will be broadcast on NBCSN in the States and on SportsNet in Canada, beginning at 3:00pm. A big change for the race will be the Push to Pass (P2P) info that was available to all teams will now be kept top secret. Drivers, understandably so, used the information to activate their own P2P when following competitors engaged their P2P, thus negating the intention of the P2P. Drivers are allowed 10 P2P opportunities per race, each up to twenty seconds long.

Jakes Eidson of Pabst Racing won the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda Race, Florian Latorre of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing won the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

Some of the new Muzik Grid Girls
The ReStyleIt ladies

Speaking of weather, Saturday is supposed to be partly cloudy, Sunday looks like steady rain from about 8:00am with thunder showers later in the day. If lightning happens within ten miles the TV crews close down and IndyCar goes cold (stop racing) until the lighting leaves the area, plus twenty minutes. This is Toronto though so bring both your umbrella and some sun screen. PS the rain is the Pan Am Games fault.
Verizon IndyCar practice 3 is at 10:40am, the driver autograph session is at 12:45 at the Coors Light Beer Garden and the Qualification and Firestone Fast 6 starts at 2:30pm.
The Stadium Super Truck SST race #1 goes at 4:00pm. The last scheduled track event is the Canadian Touring Car race #2 which runs from 5:50 to 6:30pm.

The Firestone Fast Six at Honda Indy Toronto are comprised of Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Sebastien Bourdais, Luca Filippi and Simon Pagenaud. Sebastien was the winner in Toronto last year but doesn't seem to confident about the race, "Just been a difficult weekend so far. I can't get a real feel for the car. The bumps are much harder than they were last year. I don't know if it's the added downforce that makes it that way or something. Particularly in Turn 1, It's a big challenge. I just make mistakes one after the other." Sebastien also talked about the track in Exhibition Place, "Here, it's very much like a polished concrete. You look at it in the mirror, if the sun is in the right angle, it shines. Shows you how slick it is. When you throw some water on it, it's definitely quite exciting. There's a lot of lines, manholes, pretty beat up, mixes of patches and things. It's pretty unpredictable."

Luca Filippi was pleased with his team and his car, "I think the performance has been good since the beginning of the season. First time I go to a racetrack that I race before (this weekend). You know what to expect, you know the lines, braking zones,. Makes everything easier. I just hope to have more experience to go faster everywhere."

Scott Dixon jokes about his new paint scheme after asked about his momentum coming out of a win in Texas, "I think it obviously helps. For team morale it's a good thing. This weekend, it feels like I've been driving a dinosaur. It's been a little bit rough out there."

Honda Rock the Red ladies
Some of the many Dr Pepper staff

A Traxxas lady

Scott Steele from Arizona won his first SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks, presented by TRAXXAS, during Race #1 held Saturday, June 13, 2015. The SST race follows the same circuit as the IndyCars - they just throw in several three foot aluminum ramps that provide a surprising amount of airtime for the vehicles (up to 20 feet  high and 150 feet down course). Driver Russell Boyle hit a ramp at a wrong angle and ended up crashing on his side adjacent to Pit Lane. Sheldon Creed came in second and Robby Gordon finished third.

This is the third season for SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks which started in Phoenex and have also competed in Australia and Barbados. Each 600 horsepower purpose-built trucks are identically prepared based on the radio controlled Traxxas model cars.

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