Honda Indy Toronto – Some Quick Thoughts on the Race and History

Photo: by Joe Skibinski, Indycar

It is so rare to get to witness history like we did today. Scott Dixon, a generational driver whom I have appreciated for a long time, tied Mario Andretti with his 52nd career win today. Dixon won in typical fashion, taking the lead with a strategic pit stop which allowed him to overtake Colton Herta coming out of the pits on cold tires.

Dixon has now won at least one race in 18 consecutive seasons, which is a record. He has won races in 20 different seasons, also a record. It has been 442 days since his last win in Texas in 2021. That is eons in Dixon terms.

While Dixon has a chance to surpass Andretti’s win total, the 67 win mark of A. J. Foyt is likely still quite safe. I am grateful that I have been able to watch the three most successful drivers in Indycar history drive. I won’t see another 50 win driver in my lifetime.

A Good Day for Marcus Ericsson

Photo- Chris Jones, Indycar

Marcus Ericsson began the day with a 20 point lead over Will Power. Josef Newgarden trailed him by 34 points. Ericsson finished fifth, Power was 15th, and Newgarden came home 10th. Ericsson’s lead is now 35 over Power while Newgarden has dropped to fourth, 44 points behind. Alex Palou moved up to third place, 37 points behind his teammate.

Great Drives

Graham Rahal started 14th and drove a brilliant race to finish fourth. Rahal’s practice times had put him in the conversation for the pole, but he got caught out by the red flag in his qualifying group. Rahal and the team have been mired mid pack or worse most of the year, but today Rahal had his best race of the year. He is my driver of the day.

Photo by Joe Skibinski, Indycar

Teammate Christian Lundgaard finished eighth and extended his lead in the rookie standings to 20 points over David Malukas. Overall Toronto was Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s best race of the season.

Alex Palou turned around what had been an awful weekend following a week of turmoil. He crashed in practice, then his car stalled on track during qualifying. He started 22nd and finished sixth. I admire his mental toughness to come out today and race hard after all that happened this week.

Final Thoughts

The race was cleaner than I expected, and the jam in the pits I feared never happened.

When a city knows it is hosting a street race, which it hasn’t hosted in three years, I would think said city would want to check the streets used for the track to make sure they are in good repair. I wondered about this all week, and the mix of surfaces at certain portions of the circuit. There is no excuse to have a track tear up during the race weekend. I’m surprised that there wasn’t an issue during qualifying.

Felix Rosenqvist is gaining on teammate Pato O’Ward. Rosenqvist has top 10 finishes in two of the last three races while O’Ward’s best finish in that time was his 11th place this afternoon.

The winner of each of the last three Indycar races has started second. The outside front row starter has won five times this season, while the pole winner has won just once.

Thanks for following along this weekend. I will be onsite the rest of the season starting next Friday in Iowa.

VeeKay Fastest in Warmup; Tires, Pits, Brakes Concerns for Race

Rinus VeeKay turned the fastest lap in the morning warmup with a lap of 0.59.8987 seconds. The session saw many cars overshoot turn 3 and some close calls on pit road. Alexander Rossi was the only other driver to lap in under a minute, trailing VeeKay by about 5 hundredths of a second.

Polesitter Colton Herta had an eventful session. He stalled leaving pit road when he has to stop to let another car by, then later went into the turn 3 runoff area and stalled, bringing out the only red flag of the practice period.

Herta also was involved in a close race off pit road with two other cars who were nearly three wide at pit exit.

Tire marbles were strewn across the track, and when cars came into the pits lots of debris was on the tires.

This could be a high attrition race.


Toronto Race Day

Today’s Schedule:

Sunday- All Times Eastern

The race is only on Peacock

GATE HOURS 8:45 AM – 5:00 PM 

9:45 AM – 10:25 AMUSF2000Race 2

10:55 AM – 11:25 AM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Warm-Up Peacock

Note- this is the time listed on Peacock. The original schedule had practice beginning at 11:05

11:40 AM – 12:20 PM Indy Pro 2000Race 2

12:35 PM – 1:15 PM Sports Car Championship Canada Race 2

1:30 PM – 2:15 PM Porsche Carrera Cup Race 2

2:40 PMNTT INDYCAR SERIES Driver Introductions

3:00 PM – Peacock coverage begins

3:30 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Honda Indy Toronto  Peacock

We missed out on tying history yesterday when Colton Herta earned his second pole of the season, but another mark could be tied today. If Scott Dixon wins, and I have had a good feeling about him all week, he will tie Mario Andretti for second place in career victories with 52. Dixon’s last win came at Texas in race 1 May 1, 2021. Dixon has won at least one race every season since 2005.

Four rookies in the top 12 starting spots makes for a bit of tension at the start. Yesterday was the 2022 rookie class’ best overall day of the season. Can they back up their qualifying performances with good results today?

The alternate tires may not see a lot of action today We could see some early pit stops, especially if there is an early caution, to get back to blacks for the rest of the race. The track is too sort for an alternate strategy to work.

There will be yellows. The timing and length of each will play into the outcome.

It should be a fun race. It’s great to have Toronto back on the schedule.

I’ll be back after morning warmup.

Herta Takes Toronto Pole

Colton Herta Photo by Chris Owens, Indycar

The streak is over. Coming into Toronto this weekend, the NTT Indycar series had seen nine different pole winners in its nine races. A different pole winner today would have tied a record set in 1952. But Colton Herta won his second pole of the season in a wild qualifying session that saw several pole contenders eliminated early due to a red flag.

The first group in round 1 had a smooth run. In group 2 things got a bit crazy. Devlin DeFrancesco overshot turn 3 and went nose first into the tires. The other cars were on an out lap, so DeFrancesco was not penalized. While he was extricating himself, Alex Palou’s car stopped on track, causing a red flag.

Drivers scrambled to get their best laps in the short time remaining. Kyle Kirkwood was on pace to solidly advance, but he clipped the wall in turn 6 and spun just before pit entrance in turn , bringing out a red flag. The drivers behind Kirkwood did not get to complete their laps. Will Power, Graham Rahal, and Simon Pagenaud, who all looked like pole contenders, missed the second round.

The round of 12 included four rookies- Callum Ilott, David Malukas, Christian Lundgaard, and Devlin DeFrancesco. Malukas would advance to the fast Six. he was the only driver in the final round who could keep the pole streak alive.

Indycar photo by Chris Owens

Josef Newgarden set the fastest time with less than a minute to go, then pitted and waited. Herta and Scott Dixon were both on a pace to beat Newgarden’s time. Herta edged Newgarden by 0.25 seconds. Dixon was faster than Newgarden but fell short of Herta by 0. 089 seconds. Herta earned his ninth career pole.


Points leader Marcus Ericsson will start ninth.

Callum Ilott just missed the fast Six and will start seventh.

David Malukas is in a good spot to pick up more ground on Christian Lundgaard in the Rookie of the Year battle. Lundgaard leads by 14 points. He starts 10th tomorrow.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing drivers Jack Harvey and Graham Rahal saw their competitive practice times go for naught with their 13th and 14th place staring spots. Rahal looked to be a pole contender.

Pato O’Ward has been slow all weekend. O’Ward needs a good result Sunday. He has averaged a 25th place finish the last two races.

Does Will Power have another come from behind run in him? Power will line up 16th tomorrow. It will be his third straight start of 15th or worse. Toronto is a difficult track to make up ground.


Herta Paces Morning Practice

Colton Herta turned the quickest lap in his morning’s pre qualifying practice session and will lead group 2 in round 1 this afternoon at 2 PM.

The start of practice was delayed 33 minutes because of incidents in support series. In Indy Pro 2000 qualifying, a car spun at the entrance to pit lane and dislodged the tire barrier. In the Porsche Cup qualifying session two cars collided and had hard contact with the wall and tires, moving the wall out of place and severing a camera cable.

There were problems for a few title contenders and several incidents of wall contact. Only two incidents resulted in red flags.

Alex Palou made contact and suffered damage to the left front suspension. he limped into the pits as action continued. Josef Newgarden noticed an oil pressure light on his dash and came into the pits. The car did not return to the track. An engine change might be coming before qualifying.

Romain Grosjean brought out the first red flag after heavy right rear wall contact. He slowly rolled back to the pits with the wheel close to separating from the car. With less than a minute remaining in the session, Takuma Sato had the hardest hit of the day. The car suffered heavy left side damage.

We will probably see some laps under one minute in qualifying on the red tires.

Qualifying begins at 2 PM, and several teams have a lot of work to do.

TheTop 13

Toronto Qualifying- Experience May be the Key

Today’s schedule: All times Eastern

GATE HOURS 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM 

8:00 AM – 8:20 AMUSF 2000 Qualifying 2

8:35 AM – 8:55 AM Indy Pro 2000 Qualifying 2

9:10 AM – 9:40 AM Porsche Carrera Cup Qualifying 1

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2 Peacock

11:15 AM – 11:45 AM Sports Car Championship Canada Qualifying1

2:00 PM – 12:45 PM USF2000 Race 1

1:00 PM – 1:45 PM Indy Pro 2000 Race 1

2:00 PM – 3:15 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying Peacock

3:30 PM – 4:15 PM Porsche Carrera Cup Race 1

4:30 PM – 5:10 PM Sports Car Championship Canada Race 1

Drivers who have raced at Toronto before will probably have the upper hand in qualifying today. In yesterday’s practice the top 10drivers all had raced here previously. Christian Lundgaard in 11th was the highest ranked river with no Toronto experience.

From last night:

Draining the Talent Pool

Simon Pagenaud may become our 10th straight pole winner this season. The Meyer Shank driver won the race in 2019 from the pole and just missed P1 yesterday. Graham Rahal may make his first Fast Six of 2022, although he seemed concern about the car’s pace on the red tires.

Qualifying is key here because of the tightness of the circuit.

Reminder: Tomorrow’s race is exclusively on Peacock. It’s only $5. Check your satellite or cable company. several include Peacock at no cost. You can cancel Peacock n Monday if you want and no one’s feelings will be hurt.

Rossi Leads Toronto Practice 1

Alexander Rossi had the fastest lap in the first practice for the Honda Indy Toronto this afternoon with a lap of 1:00.6090. Simon Pagenaud was second, just 0,0901 seconds behind. Graham Rahal was third, 0.0941 seconds off Rossi’s lap.

The session stopped four times. The first red flag was for a track inspection of a manhole cover in turn 2. Callum Ilott tagged the wall his front wing to cause the second halt to action. Jimmie Johnson spun in turn eight, just lightly brushing the barrier with the end plate of the front wing, and Helio Castroneves caused the final red flag when the went into the tire barrier n turn eight and stalled his car.

Alex Palou put aside this week’s controversy and turned in the10th best time. He told the media this morning that he will not make further comments on the situation. Palou said he is concentrating on repeating as series champion.

Points leader Marcus Ericsson finished the session in fourth place, ahead of his two closest rivals. Will Power ninth and Josef Newgarden was fifth.

Rahal’s third place is the first time this year the team has been in the conversation at the end of a session. He said that a test at Sebring gave the team a good idea of what would work at Toronto. Rahal would like to find more pace on the red alternate tires.

Graham Rahal


I had forgotten how tight and narrow the Toronto circuit is. There is little room for error anywhere on the track.

Pit entrance and exit look very tight. Pit boxes have been reduced to 35 feet from their normal 40 foot space to accommodate the extra entries. The grid is expected to be even larger in 2023. The series is working with the promoter to redesign the pit lane for more cars..

It was great seeing the Princes’ Gate again. I have always thought that the track should be driving through it at the start of each lap rather than it being part of the runoff area.