Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto 2016

The last day of the MotorFest weekend continues to be full of motor car racing and off track activities.  The grand finale will be the Verizon IndyCar Honda Indy Toronto 2016 race with pre-race beginning at 2:30pm and the green flag dropping for the 22 car field at 3:15pm. I am wearing a photo bib with the number 99 this year (I am at turn 1 beside Prince's Gate in the photo at top)  - see you at the races.

Indy Lights Race #2 winners: Andre Negrao (2nd), Felix Rosenqvist (1st) and Kyle Kaiser (3rd)
Indy Lights, GT3 and Stadium Super Trucks also raced on Sunday.

Track changes this weekend include sand blasting smooth concrete patches in turns 1 and 9 and moving out the wall in turn 8 across from the GO Station.  I am sure the drivers would have liked more room through turns 9 to 11 as well!  The cars also have LED position markers on their cars this year. Races started at 8:25am this morning with the USF2000 series followed by the Pro Mazda cars and a 30 minute IndyCar warm up at 10:30am.
Found out today that the Toronto 2016 Grid Girls will be the Toronto Argonauts Cheerleaders.

Starting the race was Major General Mike Rouleau of the Canadian Forces Special Operations Forces who was the Grand Marshal. During the pre-race ceremonies and driver introductions a group of 300 military reservists from the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force marched on the track to salute the racce fans.

CF-18 Hornet fighter jets from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron from CFB Bagotville, Quebec, twice performed flybys over the track, flying in the direction from turn 11 to turn 1. “We are so proud to be able to say this special ‘thank you’ to the men and women who serve us all so well,” said Jeff Atkinson, president of the Honda Indy Toronto. “We are thrilled that they are joining us to celebrate 30 years of racing on the streets of Toronto with such an impactful presence.” The General gave the call to start engines at 3:08pm and the cars began to roll out onto the track.
85 laps, 16 caution laps, 6 lead changes and an average speed of 88.739 (fastest lap 105.728) miles per hour were some of the stats of the 2016 Streets of Toronto race. The big stat of course was Will Power in the number 12 car who took top spot with his third win of 2016 and his third time winning in Toronto. Second place was Helio Castroneves in the number 3 car, and in third place was Canadian James Hinclciffe in the number 5 car. This is the best finish for James in Toronto and his 10th time on the podium in his career, he said "As we're coming out of that last restart, I saw everybody in the last section get to their feet and I was just hoping I didn't screw it up."
Will Power climbs out of his car in Victory Circle
Helio Castroneves, Will Power and James Hinchcliffe on the podium

Scott Dixon of the number 9 car started out in the P1 pole position ended up finishing in 8th place. All the top drivers were worried about Tony Kanaan of the number 10 car, he led from lap 60 to lap 75 when he pitted for fuel only, however his wheels weren't in the best shape at the end and he ended up 4th place. All cars in the IndyCar race had to use one set of alternate red tires and primary black tires.

Overall the IndyCar Series point standings has Simon Pagenaud (432 pts), Will Power (385 pts) and Helio Castroneves (358 pts) leading the pack.
During driver introductions they open up pit lane 

Argo Cheerleaders with their calendars
Retired driver, champion and 3 time Honda Indy Toronto winner Dario Franchitti is in Toronto as well
Toronto Rock Lacrosse cheerleaders and mascot Iggy
Helio Castroneves
Will Power - said the track was a little bumpy
CF-18 Hornets make their first flyby
From turn 11 grandstands looking into the pits

Turn 5 develops an asphalt pothole which many of the drivers start to avoid

At the IndyCar post race press conference with James, Helio and Will spoke of their experiences on the track and of their season. James was happy with his best qualifying and best finish so far in Toronto. His race suit was signed by people that donated to Make-A-Wish Canada and he noted that Toronto was generous and raised a lot of money for charity. He really got a boost from the crowd and he was feeling good and confident. He felt lucky with his position in the pits and how it was laid out. Pit lane was a little hairy but he noted they were professional drivers. James was very tight with gas at the end but those with gas were too far behind to capitalize on it. Also noted was the issue with cautions and being able to pit, it has lost a number of drivers a chance at a win, including Scott Dixon in today's race, however "that is the nature of the beast".

“Guys were throwing elbows at the beginning but we were able to maintain position. On the blacks, with the track temperature going up, we were really struggling.” When the clouds came out and the temperature on the track dropped his car was able to take advantage of the conditions.
"It took a caution or two and the Schmidt Peterson racing team decided to go for broke with fuel management in the final 25 laps of the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday. The result was a third-place finish for The Mayor of Hinchtown in his hometown race, the second podium of the 2016 season for the Arrow Electronics car. A final yellow on lap 80 when Juan Pablo Montoya and Jack Hawksworth ended up in a tire wall proved to be beneficial, the Mayor said. “I was hoping not to screw it up at the end and for once we caught a break in Toronto,” he added.. “That last yellow really helped, but we might have made it without it too.”

James Hinchcliffe talked about the track and said that it wouldn't be awful if the track were wider. Turn 11 claimed a lot of card over the weekend and it was much better in turn 8 after they widened that particular corner. Now he looks forward to a week or two of down time, to recharge his batteries.
Will Power has had a great season with three wins in 2016 and celebrates his third win in Toronto. He had perfect timing driving today and the cautions went his way today. The Toronto street course is difficult to pass. Will said that he has to chill sometimes, keep at it and not get desperate and that working with the Penske team gives you a chance to win every race. He saved his push to pass for late restarts and had 5 or 6 left and felt like he lost money because he didn't use them. Will asked what it is about Toronto - it's always mayhem and yellows dropping at weird times.

Firehawk meets a young fan
IndyCar driver Graham Rahal scooters to the pits

Will Power talks with his team in the Victory Circle
Selfie shot with the winning crew and the cheerleaders
James comes onto the stage with the Argo cheerleaders waving their pom poms

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