Thursday, July 13, 2017

Honda Indy Toronto 2017

The race track is in place, the city roads are closed and Honda Indy Toronto is in town for its 31st year from July 14 to 16 in Exhibition Place. With a number of series taking part in the race festival the track schedule will be full of practice sessions, qualifying times and exciting races. Headline races will be the NASCAR Pinty's Series Grand Prix of Toronto on Saturday and the Verizon IndyCar Series Race on Sunday. Fan Friday remains free courtesy of the Ontario Honda Dealers with a request of a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada.

See photos of Fan Friday hereSaturday here and the big race day - Sunday.
Prince's Gates from the Pinty's Pub and Grill

21 IndyCar open wheel drivers are bringing their high powered machines to the Streets of Toronto race course (CAR/DRIVER): #1 Simon Pagenaud, #2 Josef Newgarden, #3 Helio Castroneves, #4 Conor Daly, #5 James Hinchcliffe, #7 Mikhail Aleshin replaced with Sebastian Saavedra, #8 Max Chilton, #9 Scott Dixon, #10 Tony Kanaan, #12 Will Power, #14 Carlos Munoz, #15 Graham Rahal, #18 Esteban Gutierrez, #19 Ed Jones, #20 Spencer Pigot, #21 JR Hildebrand, #26 Takuma Sato, #27 Marco Andretti, #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, #83 Charlie Kimball and #98 Alexander Rossi.
Will Power interviewed at the press conference

Will Power won the 2016 Honda Indy Toronto which puts him at the top of active IndyCar drivers with the most wins at the track. Three other past winners will also be driving in 2017 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden. Will Power of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet says "Toronto is a great course for myself and the No. 12 Verizon Chevy team. We won the event last year and had a really great car to make it happen. We've gotten a win at a road course and an oval this season already, so a win at a street course would be really exciting. We continue to have a really strong car as we had a great one at Iowa. We're looking forward to racing for the fans at Toronto this weekend and building on consistently solid cars this season."
Crews setting up in pit lane
Cars are coming out of haulers in the IndyCar Paddocks

The Mayor of Hinchtown, James Hinchcliffe of the #5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda is also returning and looks forward to racing in Toronto, "It's one of the busiest for me, but one of the most enjoyable, then to go home and race in front of the home crowd at the racetrack that I went to as a kid that really made me fall in love with Indy car racing. Getting the chance to race there every year is exciting. The support that I felt from the city, and the entire country, has been overwhelming the last 100 starts of my career, and it's going to be exciting to have number 101 there."
Honda Indy Toronto 2017 map

On Thursday, July 13 there will be a press conference where we will meet Jeff Atkinson, President of the Honda Indy Toronto and a number of drivers and later get to see the William Ashley race trophies. Jeff noted that this is the fourth longest running event in IndyCar and is a special event for the city of Toronto. The diversity of racing means that there is something to see and do for everyone.
From left to right: Alex Tagliani, Scott Hargrove, Patrick Gallagher, Will Power, Dalton Kellett, Parker Thompson and Sebastien Bourdais who joined the panel as a surprise guest.

Drivers at the initial press conference will be as noted.
Will Power of IndyCar. Says that the track and conditions are different every year and that you need to stay on your toes and survive the race - minimize mistakes and be smart. The concrete patches are slippery but if it rains Friday it might make the racing better.
Alex Tagliani, NASCAR Pinty's Series driver of the No. 18 Dodge in the Pinty's Grand Prix of Toronto. Alex won last year's race and he bringsthanked his new sponsor Lowes as they help raise awareness of food allergies.
Parker Thompson, Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda driver of the No. 90 Exclusive Autosport Mazda. Toronto is one of the coolest cities to race in, he won last year and has started the campaign 'Drive to Stay Alive; to end distracted driving
Patrick Gallagher, Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup driver of the No. 29 McCumbee McAleer Racing Mazda. Says that this is the first time the race has come to Toronto and looks forward to the street course.
Scott Hargrove, Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama driver of the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche. This is Scott's fifth time racing in TO and notes that the track is difficult - bumpy and the walls are tight.
Sebastien Bourdais, IndyCar driver injured during the qualifying for the Indy 500. He is now walking and hopes to get into a car later in August after fracturing his pelvis and breaking a hip at the famous oval. He thought it was important to show up and support his team.
After the press conference "IndyCar drivers Tony Kanaan and Conor Daly, plus Jeff Atkinson and representatives from William Ashley will unveil the William Ashley Waterford Crystal trophies to be awarded to the top three IndyCar finishers in the Hondy Indy Toronto."
Pit lane and the Honda pedestrian bridge

Other events scheduled around the track or around town are as follows.

Thursday, July 13 from 3:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Indy Cycling Challenge benefiting Prostate Cancer Canada
Honda Indy Toronto temporary street circuit
Exhibition Place
"This inaugural event benefits Prostate Cancer Canada and will consist of a 10KM and 25KM race. Cyclists will compete in a timed event to raise money and to win prizes. 2016 Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi will also participate."

Thursday, July 13 from 6:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
The RALLY Toronto by Racing for Cancer
The Fermenting Cellar - Distillery District 28 Distillery Ln.
Toronto, ON M5A 4R2
"James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay are hosting a fundraising event to support the charity Racing for Cancer as well as benefit Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia Foundation of Canada."

Friday, July 14 from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Coors Light/New Era Event
Grace O'Malley's Irish Pub
14 Duncan St.
Toronto, ON M5H 3G8
"Coors Light and New Era are joining forces at Grace O'Malley's Irish Pub to build excitement for Honda Indy Toronto. Drivers Conor Daly, Graham Rahal, J.R. Hildebrand, and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be on-site to meet fans and sign autographs. The event will feature giveaways, including co-branded Coors Light New Era hats."

Singer-song writer Tom Cochrane will be the Honda Indy Toronto 2017 Grand Marshal. Tom gained fame with his single 'Life is a Highway' and has received eight Juno awards, a GRAMMY nomination and been awarded the Order of Manitoba and the Order of Canada among many other honours.

"As Grand Marshal, Cochrane will announce the most famous words in motorsport, "Drivers, start your engines!" as well as participate in other pre-race ceremonies for the Verizon IndyCar Series race on Sunday. The race will be broadcast both globally and live nationally on Sportsnet 360 with coverage starting at 3:00 p.m. EDT. "We are incredibly excited to have Tom Cochrane as our 2017 Grand Marshal," said Jeff Atkinson, President of Honda Indy Toronto. "His accomplishments in music as well as extensive charity work are a point of Canadian pride. We are honoured to have Tom join us in celebration this weekend."

"It is an honour to be asked to Grand Marshal the iconic Honda Indy especially in the summer of Canada's 150th year. It's always a hallmark of summer in Toronto and Ontario," said Tom Cochrane. "My favourite moment of Indy history was when Paul Tracy won the championship. It was a proud year for Canadians. This year after being a resident of Oakville for the last 20 years and raising our daughter here, I'm obviously rooting for fellow Oakvillian, James Hinchliffe to win!"

"Additionally, in celebration of Canada150, to enhance the Canadian presence in the pre-race ceremonies, Sgt. David Grenon of the Royal Canadian Air Force will perform the National Anthem. Captain Hilary Anderson of the Royal Canadian Air Force - 433 Tactical Flying Squadron, 3 Wing based out of CFB Bagotville, Quebec will fly over following the national athem in a CF-18 Hornet."

Sunday's Verizon IndyCar race will be preceded by a parade march of military members and untis from across Ontario along with the drivers and race organizers. The grid girls will be the Toronto Argonauts cheerleaders.

Photos from the weekend, the daily schedule, road closures and TTC changes after the jump. Check the Honda Indy Toronto website for updated schedules.
IndyCars zip by the fountain

James Hinchcliffe finishes in third place and sprays the crowd in Victory Circle
Then the Mayor of Hinchtown is handed a Canadian flag which he drapes around his shoulders

Friday July 14th Gates Open 7:45 a.m - 6 p.m
Fan Friday is brought to you by the Ontario Honda Dealers Association. Gate Entry is granted with a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada.

8:00 AM - Global MX-5 Cup Practice
8:35 AM - USF2000 Practice
9:20 AM - Porsche Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Practice
10:05 AM - Global MX-5 Cup Practice
10:40 AM - Verizon IndyCar Series Practice
11:40 AM - NASCAR Pinty's Series Pinty's Grand Prix of Toronto Practice
12:55 PM - USF2000 Qualifying
1:30 PM - Indy Lights Practice
2:15 PM - Verizon IndyCar Series Practice
3:35 PM - NASCAR Pinty's Series Pinty's Grand Prix of Toronto Qualifying
4:50 PM - Porsche Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge
Autograph Sessions - Enercare Centre Atrium (west end)
11:00 AM - USF2000
11:45 AM - Indy Lights
12:30 PM - Verizon IndyCar Series
2:00 PM - Global MX-5 Cup

Saturday July 15th Gates Open 7:45 a.m - 6 p.m 

8:00 AM - USF2000 Qualifying
8:35 AM - Indy Lights Qualifying
9:15 AM - Porsche Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Qualifying
10:00 AM - Verizon IndyCar Series Practice
11:00 AM - Global MX-5 Cup Race
12:00 PM - USF2000 Race
1:00 PM - Indy Lights Race
2:15 PM - Verizon IndyCar Series Qualifying
3:45 PM - NASCAR Pinty's Series Pinty's Grand Prix of Toronto Race
5:20 PM - Porsche Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Race
Autograph Sessions
12:30 PM - NASCAR Pinty's Series- Enercare Centre Atrium (west end)
3:30 PM - Porsche Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge - Porsche Paddock

Sunday July 16th Gates Open 8 a.m - 6 p.m

9:00 AM - Indy Lights Qualifying
9:40 AM - USF2000 Race
10:35 AM - Global MX-5 Cup Race
11:30 AM - Verizon Indy Car Series Warm Up
12:15 PM - Indy Lights Race
1:40 PM - Porsche Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Race
3:00 PM - Verizon IndyCar Series Pre Race
3:40 PM - Verizon Indy Car Series Race

City of Toronto information on road closures and TTC changes for the Honda Indy event

Honda Indy Toronto
Strachan Avenue, between Lake Shore Boulevard and Fleet Street, will be closed starting at noon on Wednesday, July 12. Lake Shore Boulevard, from Strachan Avenue to British Columbia Drive, will be closed starting at 8 p.m. tomorrow. Both closures will be in effect until midnight on Sunday, July 16. There will be no eastbound or westbound traffic during this closure. The only access to Ontario Place will be from the foot of Strachan Avenue.

The TTC will also divert several routes to accommodate the Honda Indy. The 511 Bathurst streetcar will divert via Fleet Street and Fort York Boulevard, the 29 Dufferin bus will turn back at Springhurst Avenue, the 509 Harbourfront streetcar will turn back at Fleet Street Loop and the 510 Spadina streetcar will turn back at Queens Quay West.

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