Friday, July 15, 2022

Fan Friday at Honda Indy Toronto 2022

The race teams were setting up in their respective paddocks in Exhibition Place on Thursday in preparation for the first day of Honda Indy Toronto 2022 - Free Fan Friday and the 34th edition of the Streets of Toronto race. Honda has been the title sponsor since 2009. Toronto is the fourth oldest race on the IndyCar schedule and it was originally promoted by Molson Breweries in 1986 so we are a big part of IndyCar history.

Fueling up the cars

Your admission is free today with a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada. The support of this charity over 11 years has raised over $800,000 and brought a lot of curious visitors to the event and is sponsored by the Ontario Honda Dealers Association. Don't forget to bring some ear protection because it is loud up close to these special motorcars. Jeff Atkinson, President of Honda Indy Toronto says that the General Admission viewing has been expanded and improved to provide a better experience for those not buying grandstand tickets. You can sit in the stands for free on Fan Friday! Check out the Truck Stop on the inside of the track at Turn 10. Other GA viewing is along the north side of Princes' Blvd and the north side of Lake Shore Blvd West. Kim Green and Kevin Savoree of Green Savoree Racing Promotions own this and three other IndyCar race festivals and they know how to put on a good show.

It's all a grind as NASCAR crews get the stock cars ready in the outdoor support series paddock

There is a lot of action happening on day 1 of race weekend as they have moved up the schedule of the big stock cars; practice and qualifying is scheduled for 10:15 to 11:35 am, then the green flag drops for the NASCAR Pinty's Series Grand Prix of Toronto race at 4:00 pm. That is a full day for those drivers! Driver LP Dumoulin of the #47 car is the reigning Series Champion (2014, 2018 and 2021) told us that he wants to win the Toronto race as he has yet to take the checkered flag at this event. However, there are a lot of experienced drivers and past winners that can crush his dreams! 2019 NASCAR winner was Akex Tagliani, a former IndyCar driver, who also won in 2016. And Andrew Ranger has captured the pole position! Boys you don't want to give this guy the starting advantage!
The pre-start race lineup. I think they were going to fast and were pulled over by the police
Andrew sprays champagne at Kevin on the podium while a lady tries to get out of the way

Update: The 35-lap, 25 car NASCAR race was a hard fought battle with Kevin Lacroix (#74 car with a total time of 59:16.055) taking the checkered flag, followed by Andrew Ranger (#27 car) and LP Dumoulin (#47 car) finishing only fraction of seconds apart.

Otherwise today is time for practice to learn the track as it is the first time on the Streets of Toronto for many of the drivers, along with some early Series qualification runs. IndyCar's first practice happens today at 2:30 pm and the field includes 25 cars which will provide plenty of on track excitement.

Free Fan Friday, July 15 Schedule

GATE HOURS 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM (tbd)
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM USF2000 Practice 1
8:45 AM - 9:10 AM Indy Pro 2000 Practice 1
9:25 AM - 10:00 AM Porsche Carrera Cup Practice 1
10:15 AM - 11:35 AM NASCAR Pinty's Series Practice 1 & Qualifying
11:50 AM - 12:20 PM Sports Car Championship Canada Practice 1
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Autograph Session
12:35 PM - 12:55 PM USF2000 Qualifying 1
1:10 PM - 1:40 PM Porsche Carrera Cup Practice 2
1:55 PM - 2:15 PM Indy Pro 2000 Qualifying 1
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1
4:00 PM - 5:20 PM NASCAR Pinty's Series Race (GRAND PRIX OF TORONTO)

Jeff Atkinson also talked about the impact of Covid-19 precautions on the 2020 and 2021 races which were canceled. Luckily most restrictions were dropped in time for the 2022 race. Due to the unpredictability of the pandemic and the associated lockdowns, early into 2021 it looked like they were going to be able to put on the race, unfortunately it was ultimately canceled. Now he is thrilled to welcome Toronto back to the annual Race Festival with six race series participating, there is a brand for almost every type of race fan, from open wheel racing to sports cars and to the heavier stock cars.

For IndyCar the major changes to the powerful vehicles since they last raced in Canada is the addition of the aeroscreen which increases the protection afforded to the driver. All the practices and qualifying ends on Sunday with Sunday's 85-lap, 244.31 km headline race, the only international race on the 2022 IndyCar schedule. On Sunday the IndyCar driver introductions start at 2:45 pm, drivers go to their cars at 3:14 pm and the green flag drops at 3:23 pm

This is your chance to visit the Indy and see the 11 turn, 2.784 km temporary street circuit taking place in Exhibition Place and out onto Lake Shore Blvd. The six series are the NTT IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Pinty's Series, the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and the Sports Car Championship Canada presented by Michelin.

For those looking to meet drivers there is an IndyCar autograph session today from 12:30 to 1:30 pm at Heritage Court. Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske was the winner of the last Toronto race held in 2019 where he also set a record for the fastest race at just over 1.5 hours. Will Power, another Toronto winner (with 3 wins), has the record for fastest race lap at 107.673 mph.

We will also look for more development of the contrary information regarding IndyCar driver Alex Palou, currently ranked 4th, who is either staying with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2023, or moving to F1 with McLaren Racing, or maybe both at the same time!

Indy Pro waiting for their turn on the track 
IndyCar pits are setup and ready to go
Looking at the truck stop area towards Turn 11
Mas costumes  promoting the Toronto Caribbean Carnival 

See more of Fan Friday after the jump.
Thunder Alley vendors and games

Excited fans in the Turn 11 suite
NASCAR race as they head into Turn 1
Fans were kept in their seats as the close NASCAR race unfolded

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