Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday at Honda Indy Toronto 2018

It's IndyCar Sunday and the final day of Honda Indy Toronto 2018. All series but Indy Lights have completed qualifications so today is almost all races on the track. Update: Scott Dixon wins his third Honda Indy Toronto race with his victory on Sunday, July 15, 2018. This ties Scott with Will Power for number of wins in Toronto.
IndyCar winner Scott Dixon of the #9 car

IndyCar is an Indianapolis based governing body for both the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Mazda Road to Indy Series. The Road to Indy has the Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 Championship which hopefully lead a driver to the premier series Verizon IndyCar. In the IndyCar the cars use a Chevrolet twin-turbocharged V-6 or a Honda twin-turbocharged V-6 IndyCar Series engine and all use the IR-12 chassis built by Dallara Automobili and fuel up with Sunoco E85 which is 85% ethanol and 15% racing gasoline.
Honda Indy Toronto 2018 map

The start/finish line is directly opposite the Enercare Centre in about the middle of Princes' Boulevard, the course is driven clockwise with the Turn 1 at Princes' Gate, leading down onto Lake Shore Boulevard. The cars re-enter Exhibition Place at Turn 3 on Ontario Drive.

USF2000 race 2 is at 9:45am, Pro Mazda race 2 is at 10:40am, Indy Lights race 2 is at 12:25pm, GT3 race 2 is at 1:40pm and the headline IndyCar race green flags at 3:42pm.
Indy Lights Q2
The Seaway Pools n Tubs ladies in bikinis have the right idea as Toronto and the GTA are under a Heat Warning today. Sunscreen and beverages are very important today.
The pits are calm now but soon they will be going hot
GT3 Race #2
Porsche GT3 in the OLG Winner's Circle
The Honda Indy Toronto start/finish line

Events leading up to the 34th Toronto IndyCar racing include; 2:45pm cars pushed out, 2:50pm cars to grid, 2:57pm driver introductions in Victory Circle and the first national anthem at 3:26pm. The race will be 85 laps (151.81 miles) and last until about 5:45pm. Drivers can use the push-to-pass for up to 200 seconds with a maximum 20 seconds per use. Teams have seven sets of primary tires and four sets of alternate tires - they have to use one set of each in every race.
Canadian Actor Jason Priestley waved the green flag to start the race and Vanessa Grimaldi from The Bachelor was the Grand Marshal for the race
Driver introductions - Simon Pagenaud with Hawk, the Firestone Tires mascot 
The Canadian Forces had a Hercules cargo plane flyover and parachutists drop in for the pre-race

A lot of drivers like to race in Toronto - they like the street course layout, the fans and support that they see during the event but most dislike the changes to the track surface - from new asphalt to smooth concrete and back again. Simon Pagenaud says that the bumpiness favours good drivers who can setup their cars to try to get as much advantage as possible in the race.

Josef Newgarden has the pole position in today's race and won last year's race so keep an eye on the #1 car to go back to back in 2018. Canadian James Hinchcliffe in the #5 car is a local favourite to improve his 2017 podium finish and take the checkered flag, especially after winning the last IndyCar race. Six rookies are in today's race including Canadian driver Robert Wickens from Guelph, Ontario. Coming into this race Scott Dixon (411 pts) is the current 2018 season points leader followed by Josef Newgarden (378 pts) and Alexander Rossi (370 pts). Winners of the Toronto race have taken the overall Series Championship in 5 of the last 9 years.

The starting lineup top 5 is Josef Newgarden #1, Scott Dixon #9 who won both Toronto races in 2013, Simon Pagenaud #22 who won the 2017 Toronto P1 award, Will Power #12 and Alexander Rossi #27.
Taking the Honda bridge over the track

And the race is on.

Scott Dixon brings his race car into Victory Circle

From the Honda Indy Toronto Pole sitter Newgarden, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and defending winner at Toronto, led 25 early laps in the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske, but brushed the wall exiting Turn 11 on a Lap 33 restart and finished ninth. "It was a tough race," Newgarden said. "Making contact with the wall didn't help. I don't know what it was, to be honest with you, it was either marbles or dust from the sweepers. I went straight into the wall and part of that is my fault, just making a mistake. But I didn't expect it." Dixon admitted that Newgarden's miscue was the key to the race. "That's where our race was won today, was through the bad luck or bad situation that Josef had," said Dixon, whose win gave engine manufacturer Honda a sweep of the five temporary street-course races this season. "We just needed some clear air, and (after passing Newgarden) we were able to check out."

Josef Newgarden led the race for 25 laps (1-22 and laps 30-32), Scott Dixon was race leader for 49 laps (33-54 and laps 59-85), Jordan King led for 6 laps (24-29) and several drivers got to lead the pack for one lap - Simon Pagenaud, Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan, Will Power and Spencer Pigot. Car Driver Laps Led 9 Dixon, Scott 49

left to right;, Simon Pagenaud #22 car second, Scott Dixon #9 car first and Robert Wickens #6 car third.

Honda Indy Toronto 2018 Victory Circle
360 degree photo of IndyCar Victory Circle 2018

See more photos of Sunday's racing after the jump.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saturday at @Hondaindy Toronto 2018

Race day 2 in the streets of Toronto brings the NASCAR Pinty's Series Grand Prix of Toronto race starting at 3:25pm. Canada's national stockcar racing series headlines the Saturday, July 14 on track action at the Honda Indy Toronto in Exhibition Place. IndyCar's first practice of the day is at 9:50am and the qualifying/Firestone Fast Six is from 1:55-3:10pm. The Verizon IndyCar race is scheduled for Sunday with driver introductions starting at 2:57pm. In the photo at top Cole Powell in the #3 NASCAR gets some practice time on Fan Friday.

NPS driver Alex Tagliani in the #18 car has the pole position after Friday's qualifying session with a time of 1:16.893 minutes and a best speed of 82.166 mph. Rounding out the top three starting positions is Marc-Antoine Camirand #22 car and Andrew Ranger in the #27 car. Nineteen cars will take to the track for the 35-lap race.
NASCAR's driver autograph session ran from noon to 1pm in the Enercare Atrium.

Saturday's qualifications and races also included the USF2000, Indy Lights and the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada.
A light rain started just after lunch but it seems to have stopped now, leaving the track a little slippery in the early afternoon. Actually, it continues to spit out which is rather refreshing unless you are driving a powerful race car which probably contributed to some of the crashes.
The number 12 car goes into the wall at Turn 4. The driver gets out okay

It should buff out
Cooper Tires trophy presenters
The Toronto Rock Lacrosse Cheerleaders
IndyCars head into Turn 1 at Princes' Gate

Looking towards pit out and BMO Field

IndyCar Practice 3 led to a combined practice results with Takuma Sato in the lead, followed by Josef Newgarden. The afternoon qualifications/Firestone Fast Six was divided into two groups, each under one of the leaders. When the smoke cleared, defending Toronto champion Josef Newgarden got a bonus cheque with the Pole Position Award. Will Josef win back to back in Toronto? Tune in tomorrow to find out.
Andrew Ranger gives the thumbs up prior to the Grand Prix of Toronto race

NASCAR Pinty's Series events started with the driver autograph session and continued with drivers at their cars at 2:50pm for a photo shoot for the fans, then drove from the NASCAR garage to pit lane. Driver intros and the National Anthem started at 3:25pm and the cars rolled out of pits at 3:35pm. Two pace laps were followed by the green flag on the Grand Prix of Toronto 2018. With 19 powerful vehicles squeezing in between the block walls of the track a number of cars were gently bruised in the racing process.
Cars 02 and 1 just before slamming into the tire barriers at Turn 5. See more of the damage below.

P1 driver Alex Tagliani led most of the race until Andrew Ranger passed on the inside of Turn 1 after a restart and held that position for the final overtime lap to the checkered flag. The margin of victory was only 1.148 seconds. Andrew in first, Alex Tagliani in second and JF Dumoulin finished third - a clean sweep of the podium by Quebec drivers.
Alex, Andrew and JF on the Pinty's Podium holding up their trophies

In the press conference following the race Andrew Ranger said that he wanted to stay with Alex, although he couldn't make a move or pass until the overtime lap. Andrew noted that it was important to start and finish a race and get to the podium so didn't push too hard on Alex, or his brakes until very late in the race. Alex was not happy being second, but said that it was a good race. His car took a hit that offset the rear and he hoped that the car would last till the checkered flag. It definitely was an exciting race that kept the crowd in the stands after the final IndyCar qualifying session had finished.

The race was 1 hour, 5 mins and 47 seconds and had 37 laps. Three cars didn't finish the race; Kerry Micks in the #02 car (accident), Larry Jackson in the #25 car (electrical) and Anthony Simone in the #95 car (rear axle).

See more of the Saturday Honda Indy Toronto after the jump.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fan Friday at Honda Indy Toronto 2018

Friday the 13th is a lucky day and you are either in Port Dover, if you like motorcycles, or are in Exhibition Place to catch all the automotive racing action happening right in the heart of the Six. The photo at top is me checking out the pits on Thursday afternoon. Pits are 10.668 metres (35 feet) long and the assignments are noted below. The gate opens to the public at 7:45am on both Friday and Saturday. On Sunday the gates open at 8:30am.

Gate Assignments; Position 1. Will Power car #12, 2. Josef Newgarden #1, 3. Ryan Hunter-Reay #28, 4. Simon Pagenaud #22, 5. Alexander Rossi #27, 6. Scott Dixon #9, 7. Canadian Robert Wickens #6, 8. Ed Jones #10, 9. Jordan King #20, 10. Takuma Sato #30, 11. Canadian James Hinchcliffe #5, 12. Graham Rayhal #5, 13. Tony Kanaan #14, 14. Zach Veach #26, 15. Sebastien Bourdais #18, 16. Conor Daly #88, 17. Charlie Kimball #23, 18. Spencer Pigott #21, 19. Marco Andretti #98, 20. Canadian Zachary Claman De Melo #19, 21. Max Chilton #59, 22. Matheus Leist #4 and position 23. Rene Binder of the #32 car.
 GT3 first practice
Yesterday I posted a photo of the Firestone tire operation located in the Enercare Centre. The tire manufacturer brings over 1,300 Firehawk race tires to Toronto for the race. The primary back tires are 14.5/28.0R15 and the fronts are 10.0/25.8R15 with a compound and construction the same as used in the St. Petersburg and Long Beach races. Firestone also sponsors a pit stop performance award and will present a cheque to Will Power for his crew's work at the Iowa Corn 300 race on July 8. Their combined pit stop performance was a time of 1 minute and 31.6664 seconds.
Pro Mazda
Fan Friday has free entrance into the Honda Indy Toronto provided by the Ontario Honda Dealers with a voluntary donation to Make-a-Wish Canada. Seating in grandstands is on a first come, first served basis, so it is a great day to come down and check out the cars and the sight-lines. This weekend will be hot, hot, hot so keep hydrated and slather sunscreen. Recent weather forecasts are calling for some rain and thunderstorms in the morning and early afternoon, hopefully they are wrong.
IndyCar takes to the track
In the first practice the top 3 fastest drivers were Scott Dixon #9 car, Graham Rahal #15 car and Alexander Rossi of the #27 car, all with speeds in excess of 105 mph. These cars do a lap in just slightly over 1 minute. Both James Hinchcliffe and Josef Newgarden were much lower in the standings from the top 3. Visually I prefer the following paint schemes on the cars driven by James Hinchcliffe (love the gold), Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Hunder-Reay.
The early morning photographers meeting has concluded, I have my photo vest (I am number 115 in a red vest. If you see me say hi) and have my cameras ready to catch the on and off track excitement.
 Jordan King makes contact with the tire barriers in Turn 6 and needs a tow.

Today's schedule has plenty of practice and qualifying sessions and there are driver autograph events in the Enercare Atrium around lunchtime (11am USF2000, 11:45am Indylights/pro Mazda and IndyCar at 12:30pm)
Nascar Pinty's Series stockcars
Inside the IndyCar Paddock
Racing newest flag promotes inclusivity and tolerance in motorsports, represented in the background banner.

The black and white checkered flag has been combined with the LGBTQ+ rainbow colours to create a Formula Everyone flag. At the Toronto race you can find the You Can Play organization sharing the flags. 

Indycars first take to the track at 10:40am for their first practice of the day while the NASCAR Pinty's Series practice follows at 11:40am. Otherwise the track schedule runs from 8:00am to 6:05pm.

See more of Honda Indy Toronto after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square