Friday, July 10, 2020

Toronto Honda Indy 2020 that could have been

Covid continues to cause loss of lives and impacts to health and while the world starts to open up, in stages, the major events that help shape our lives and our towns and cities remain shuttered. In Toronto all mass participation events and permits with attendance of over 250 people until July 31st and events with attendance more than 25k people are cancelled until the end of August 2020. These restrictions initially postponed the Honda Indy Toronto 2020, then based upon the scheduling of the NTT IndyCar season, the HIT2020 was cancelled. 

If it was a normal year this is the weekend the race would have happened! Setting up the 2.84 km, 11-turn race track and stands would have started early in June and from July 10-12, 2020 Exhibition Place and Lake Shore Boulevard would have been alive with the sounds and smells of high powered race cars and crowds flocking in, beginning with free entrance during Fan Friday in support of Make-A-Wish Canada. Six race series were to take part in the on track action from the top rated NTT IndyCar Series to the high jumping Stadium Super Trucks. Here are the motorsport series that had planned to participate in 2020 as described by HIT:

"The NTT IndyCar Series is the premier open-wheel racing series in the United States. It offers one of the most diverse and challenging schedules in motorsports with races held on ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street courses.

The Lamborghini Super Trofeo is an international motor racing series. Lamborghini Super Trofeo drivers compete in identical Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo cars, based on the Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2.
The NASCAR Pinty’s Series enters its 13th season and the 4th with entitlement sponsorship from Pinty’s Delicious Foods. The series features 13 events across four Canadian provinces and boasts Canada’s brightest stars and biggest talents, from multi-time champions D.J. Kennington and Andrew Ranger, to notable names like Alex Tagliani and L.P. Dumoulin.

The Road to Indy Presented By Cooper Tires features some of the best up and coming competitors as they try to reach the pinnacle of open-wheel racing America, the NTT IndyCar Series. Boasting over 100 drivers as graduates, the Road to Indy is comprised of three race series including: Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama features semi-professional drivers racing head to head in one of the largest single-make series in North America.

Stadium SUPER Trucks feature identically prepared high-horsepower trucks. The versatile off-road trucks race on virtually any surface, and in 2019 will be featured at IndyCar venues, NASCAR races and other large events that will expose the great sport of off-road racing to the masses."

IndyCar made the decision to start the race season in June with the Genesys 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway. Scott Dixon has claimed victory in the first two races in a field watched by zero fans. This weekend the crew is at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for a double header and for the first time this year there will be fans in the stands. 

From NTT, “It’s awesome to have the fans back,” said NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader and five-time series champion Scott Dixon. “There are different periods throughout the weekend that you notice the fans. Without them, it’s like turning up for a test. “Luckily enough for us, we have won, so we miss that portion of it, especially at Indianapolis last weekend. When you get up on that stage for the road course, you typically see thousands of people and what I think would have been an amazing weekend for Xfinity, Cup and that whole combination. “Without fans and our partners, we wouldn’t be able do to what we love. The fans are the biggest part of what we do.” Dixon believes the return of fans the next two weekends, at Road America and Iowa Speedway, is an important step in the 2020 season. He believes INDYCAR has done an outstanding job keeping the paddock isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Trust me, all of us want is to get back to normal, but we have to make sure we do it in a way that doesn’t create any more problems,” Dixon said. Because of that, the INDYCAR paddock will be closed to spectators at Road America and Iowa. In the past, fans could stroll through the area, ride their bicycles or even golf carts and get a close-up look at their racing heroes and a photo or autograph. But several teams and drivers still want to let the fans know how much they are appreciated at Road America and Iowa."

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