Toronto Returns- Race Preview

Today’s Schedule:

 All Times Eastern

GATE HOURS7:30 AM – 5:00 PM 
8:00 AM – 8:30 AMUSF2000Practice 1
8:45 AM – 9:10 AMIndy Pro 2000Practice 1
9:25 AM – 10:00 AMPorsche Carrera CupPractice 1
10:15 AM – 11:35 AMNASCAR Pinty’s SeriesPractice 1 & Qualifying
11:50 AM – 12:20 PMSports Car Championship CanadaPractice 1
12:30 PM – 1:30 PMNTT INDYCAR SERIESAutograph Session
12:35 PM – 12:55 PMUSF2000Qualifying 1
1:10 PM – 1:40 PMPorsche Carrera CupPractice 2
1:55 PM – 2:15 PMIndy Pro 2000Qualifying 1
2:30 PM – 3:45 PMNTT INDYCAR SERIESPractice 1 Peacock
4:00 PM – 5:20 PMNASCAR Pinty’s SeriesRace

After a two year absence, the Honda Indy Toronto returns to Exhibition Place. Sunday’s event will be the 35th race in Toronto. Double headers took place in 2013 and 2014. While it is one of he older races on the calendar, this year presents some new challenges. This weekend marks the first race in Toronto for the aeroscreen. Because of the two year COVID hiatus, only 12 of the 25 drivers have raced at this track.

Toronto is the first race following the dispute between Chip Ganassi Racing and Arrow McLaren SP over the services of Alex Palou for 2023. I prefer my racing drama on the track, but I am interested in seeing how this plays out. I will discuss my thoughts on this later today.

Will Power didn’t seem to think the lack of experience will be an issue. he told the media Tuesday that experience is not a factor.

“Basically with simulators and video and everything, it doesn’t really give you an advantage any more. I think people turn up, they pretty
much know the track.
Yeah, it’s anyone’s guess who will be the quickest there
and what the top 10 would be, honestly,” Power said.

Power thinks the forward weight of the aeroscreen might help at Toronto.

“I’ve actually found at Toronto, as the weight has gone forward,
it’s really helped. On those really slippery cement patches, the actual weight downforce matters, so you get more weight force on the
front tires, and it actually helps turn the car. That was a big
problem when the car had really rearward weight, that the
front tires would not work over that cement.”

This weekend will be the first race in 2022 without a woman driving a car. The number 11 car of A. J. Foyt Racing is not entered due to nonpayment by the sponsor, Rokit. The car may return later in the season.

Paddock Drama

The Andretti team drama we saw at Mid Ohio should be gone this week. Toronto is not a track to be running into other cars. I haven’t heard how the team test at Iowa went, but I think we’ll see good behavior from the drivers thuis weekend.

Chip Ganassi racing confirmed that Alex Palou will drive for them this weekend after the midweek dispute with Arrow McLaren SP over his 2023 employment. Both claim to have a deal with palou for next season, though McLaren doesn’t necessarily intend for him to be in Indycar. I will have thoughts on this topic in a separate story later today.

Points Battle

Marcus Ericsson takes a 20 point lead over Will Power and a 34 point lead over Josef Newgarden into Canada. Alex Palou is just 35 points behind, and Pato O’Ward trails the leader by 65 points.

Ericsson needs at least one more win to be in a good position to win the title. More important, Ericsson does not need is a bad race.

We could possibly see a change at the top of the standings Sunday.

First Repeat Pole Winner?

I have a feeling the string of nine different pole winners in nine races will be broken on Saturday by either Josef Newgarden or Will Power. Both Penske drivers have had success at Toronto, and Team Penske is having a strong season.

I still believe the series will match the record of 10 different pole winners set in 1952.

Dixon’s 52nd Win

Will Scott Dixon win again? Sunday mat be the day the six time series champion finally gets the victory that ties him with Mario Andretti on the all time career list. I think this week’s race is probably is last best chance this year.

One of the reasons I planned to go to all the races this year was to witness Dixon’s 52nd win. It stands to reason it will happen at the one race I don’t get to.

A reminder– Sunday’s race is only on Peacock Premium. I understand there are deals for a one week free trial out there in cyberspace. This week would ne a good one to find that offer.