Archive for July 18, 2016

The podium of Will Power, Helio Castroneves, and James Hinchcliffe hoist their trophies in Victory Circle following the Honda Indy Toronto -- Image by Joe Skibinski

The podium of Will Power, Helio Castroneves, and James Hinchcliffe hoist their trophies in Victory Circle following the Honda IndyCar Toronto — Image by Joe Skibinski

TORONTO (Sunday, July 17, 2016) – Will Power feels he’s been on the wrong side of enough caution flags in the IndyCar Series that he’ll gladly accept the timely one that helped him win the Honda Indy Toronto.

The 2014 series champion claimed his 3rd win of the season and 3rd on the streets of Exhibition Place by 1.5275 seconds over teammate Helio Castroneves, driving directly into the 2016 championship discussion in the process. Power now sits 2nd in the standings despite missing the season opener, 47 points behind teammate Simon Pagenaud.

“Getting close, that’s good,” said Power, who sat out the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in March with an inner-ear infection after winning the pole in qualifying. “It’s good to get this momentum for the team going forward for the rest of the championship. Five (races) to go, all good tracks for me. “If we can close that gap going into (the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma in September), we can do this, we can win this championship, absolutely.”

Scott Dixon leads the field into Turn 1 at the start the Honda Indy Toronto -- Image by Joe Skibinski

Scott Dixon leads the field into Turn 1 at the start the Honda IndyCar Toronto — Image by Joe Skibinski

Starting fourth, Power trailed pole sitter Scott Dixon, Castroneves and Pagenaud most of the first two-thirds of the 85-lap battle on the 1.786-mile temporary street course – the 32nd Indy car race in Toronto. Power was running third on Lap 58 when race strategist Tim Cindric ordered him to the pits just before a full-course caution came out when Josef Newgarden’s car made contact with the wall in Turn 5, closing the pits.

Power cycled ahead of Dixon and Pagenaud – who had to wait to for their stops until the pits were opened during the caution period – then the Australian waited in 2nd place until leader Tony Kanaan had to stop for fuel 9 laps from the finish.

Honda Indy Toronto Box Score

“The team called me in just at the last minute. Perfect timing,” said Power, whose third Toronto win ties him with Dario Franchitti and trails only Michael Andretti’s seven victories at the track. “I can’t tell you how many times it has gone the opposite way for me at this place and many other places. But I was so stoked to see yellow lights as I was going into pit lane. It’s not often you catch a yellow like that.”

Power held off Castroneves, in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevy, on a last-lap restart to collect his 28th career IndyCar win, moving the 35-year-old ahead of Johnny Rutherford into 13th on the all-time victories list. One win ahead of Power are Castroneves and Team Penske driver coach Rick Mears.

Castroneves overcame a punctured left-front tire midway through the race to record his 40th career runner-up finish – second all-time to Mario Andretti’s 56. Castroneves is 3rd in the standings, 74 points behind Pagenaud.  “It’s a shame (about the puncture),” Castroneves said, “but don’t get me wrong, the Pennzoil Chevrolet machine was really strong. Second (in the race) is better than third.”

Signatures adorn the firesuit of James Hinchcliffe prior to the Honda Indy Toronto -- Image by Chris Owens

Signatures adorn the firesuit of James Hinchcliffe prior to the Honda IndyCar Toronto — Image by Chris Owens

James Hinchcliffe thrilled the partisan Toronto crowd by finishing third in his hometown race in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. His best previous Toronto showing was eighth place in six previous races. “For once in my career here in Toronto we caught a lucky break,” Hinchcliffe said. “It’s not just that I haven’t had great luck here, I’ve had insanely bad luck here. Today we were on the other side of that. It’s part of Indy car racing.”

Verizon P1 Award winner Dixon finished eighth in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and points leader Pagenaud ninth in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet. Newgarden, the defending Toronto winner, finished 22nd and last after his crash. He was checked and released from the infield care center but, according to Dr. Geoffrey Billows, INDYCAR medical director, will have his right hand that was fractured in a June 12 crash at Texas Motor Speedway re-evaluated Monday before he is cleared to drive.

The Verizon IndyCar Series heads next to The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio from July 29-31. Dixon, the reigning series champion, is a five-time winner at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The race airs live at 2 p.m. ET July 31 on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network with a re-air on NBCSN at 5:30 p.m.

Mazda Road to Indy results

Felix Rosenqvist (Belardi Auto Racing) completed a sweep of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires weekend by winning today’s race. Aaron Telitz did the same in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, moving into a tie with Team Pelfrey teammate Pato O’Ward for the points lead in the process. Parker Thompson, a native of Red Deer, Alberta, won the second race of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda weekend in his home race.