Before you predict the winner of next year’s Honda Indy Toronto, see who Tim Cindric is calling the race for. Then place a large bet on that guy. For the second straight year, Cindric called his driver in for a pit stop just a tad early, which happened just as or just before a full course caution came out, vaulting his driver to the lead and pinning the leaders at the time to the back. The order remained that way the rest of the race. Last year, Will Power benefited. This year, it was Josef Newgarden.
In a rather processional race marked by a few good battles, Newgarden took the lead with his early stop and cruised to victory.. It was a typical Toronto race with bumping and banging in the turns and very little change in the order except for the caution that pushed the early leaders to the back.
The only drama after the caution caused by Tony Kanaan sliding into the tires was when or if it would rain. The skies threatened but never let loose. Rain would have definitely helped make the race better. I don’t think Indycar has run a race in the rain since Firestone introduced the new rain tire in 2015. Maybe that was the secret to preventing rain all along.
Alexander Rossi’s 2nd place finish was his best finish since winning the Indianapolis 500 last year. His podium was the highlight of a pretty good day for Andretti Autosport. Marco Andretti finished 4th and Ryan Hunter-Reay hung on for 6th. It looks like Honda has solved the engine reliability issues that have been so costly to this team this year.
Scott Dixon turned what could have been a disastrous day into one where he was able to hold on to his point lead, although it has shrunk to just 3 points. A first turn incident with Will Power, which put Power out of the race cut Dixon’s left rear tire, forcing him to pit on lap one. Miraculously, he didn’t lose a lap and fought back to a 10th place finish. This is the second weekend in a row where Dixon has been able to salvage something from a bad start. In 2 weeks, the series moves to one of his and Ganassi’s strongest tracks, Mid-Ohio. I expect him to strengthen his points lead there.
News and Notes:
Two rumors were squashed this weekend:
- Marco Andretti will return to Indycar next year. He was emphatic about it talking to Indycar Radio Saturday and Bryan Herta sent out a tweet backing up what Marco said.
- Fernando Alonso looks set to stay in F1 according to a Saturday announcement. McLaren celebrated the news with another engine failure in the British GP Sunday. Stay tuned?
It looks more definite that Helio Castroneves will be driving for the new Penske DPi team next year.
Newgarden has won 5 Indycar races at only 3 different tracks- Toronto, Barber, and Iowa.
NBC coverage seems to be falling into the more run of the mill coverage of other networks. The pre-race was 90% retrospectives and very little about the current race. Then during live green action, they showed several little features taking away from live viewing of the race. Save that stuff for yellows, red flags, and delays.
Mikhail Aleshin was on a 1 race “reset,” according to the team. he is expected back at Mid-Ohio.
Dale Coyne must be relieved that there was no crash damage to either car during the race. Ed Jones had an oil line let go late in the race, but there was no structural damage to the chassis.
I don’t recall going this far into a season with only 3 drivers winning more than once and no one having won more than twice. Unless one of the contenders has a 3 race winning streak, the championship will be in doubt going into the last race at Sonoma. A season like this is a good argument why a double points finale isn’t necessary.
Spencer Pigot can’t seem to get a break. Pigot has probably passed more cars than anyone else this year, but he has little to show for it. He was moving quickly through the field early before mechanical issues bit him again. I hope his car will hold together for a race or two soon. He should have had a couple of top 5s already this year. Pigot needs a full time ride.