Agendas varied in the one-day team test Thursday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but they shared one common goal: finding the quickest way around the 2.258-mile permanent road course in Lexington, Ohio, that plays host to The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio from July 29-31.
Will Power feels he's been on the wrong side of enough caution periods in the Verizon IndyCar Series that he'll gladly accept the timely one that helped him win the Honda Indy Toronto.
The 2014 series champion claimed his third win of the season and third on the streets of Exhibition Place by 1.5275 seconds over teammate Helio Castroneves, driving directly into the 2016 championship conversation in the process. Power now sits second in the standings despite missing the season opener, 47 points behind teammate Simon Pagenaud.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): "Yeah, it's terrible. On Friday, I made a mistake and went into the wall so we got behind. In the morning yesterday we had a misfire with the engine and didn't do any laps before qualifying. We didn't qualify as well as we could. We knew we had a good race car though. The DeVilbiss Chevy was really good. I passed a lot of people and had a lot of fun. I thought I had an easy podium if not more. We missed a pit call by about two seconds. I started at the back. I was running with the No. 28 (Ryan Hunter-Reay) there late and went to turn with him, but the No. 41 (Jack Hawksworth) was in the wall and there was nowhere to go. It seems like every weekend there is something, and it's getting really old really fast."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3. Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet): "I'm smiling because I know we didn't win, but the Pennzoil Chevrolet car was really strong. When we felt the car vibrating and I was just telling Roger, 'Hey listen, it's just vibration. But let's not pit.' Then, all of a sudden I felt the car pulling and the tire just gave up. I'm not sure why. I noticed the curb in Turn 5, it could be. I don't know. Finally, we got a little break on the yellow. It put us back in the position to fight. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to pass so I tried everything I could, and in the end I was like, 'OK this is the chance,' but Will had like six push to pass. I only had three. It was very difficult to get the tires going but Roger and the entire Pennzoil Chevrolet guys, man, I'm so proud to be part of this team. These guys are never giving up. Thanks everyone. Let's keep going. Let's move to the next one."
2016 Toronto: IndyCar Race Results - Power Victorious
By Brad Gerhart
Whether it is for better or worse, the slight changes to the Verizon IndyCar’s Honda Indy Toronto did not create any different drama for the 30th anniversary of one of the best street courses in all of open-wheel racing.
Scott Dixon, the winner of both dual Toronto races in 2013 ripped off some impressive times before his first pit stop on lap 27. He built up a fairly significant gap of nearly three seconds over Helio Castroneves and the rest of the Verizon IndyCar field, before Castroneves blew his front left tire on the Lakeshore straightaway on lap 26.
Once the pit cycle was completed Dixon had built up a 8 second lead over Simon Pagenaud by lap 33 but the lead evaporated when a caution came out on lap 46 and the turn 5 chicane began to deteriorate. On lap 58 Josef Newgarden became a victim of the turn 5 chicane when he lost control of the steering wheel, missed the tire barrier and went hard into the outside wall which brought out another yellow. “There was a big chunk taken out of it,” Will Power said.
The IndyCar series has been coming to Toronto for the Honda Indy Toronto since 2009. The track is a 11-turn, 1.75-mile street circuit built on the streets of Toronto. The start is treacherous as the field races down a long frontstretch leading into the Turn 1 Princes Gate. It is a wide enticing section of track which is the place to pass at Toronto, but it is a hard right hander with little room at the exit for mistakes. Fans will see lots of yellow in this area.
In the previous races, the event has been won twice by one current driver Scott Dixon who swept both races in 2013. Otherwise, Toronto has been won by seven different drivers over the last eight races since 2010.
In theory, the front runners should have an advantage and seven times in nine tries the winner has started sixth or better, but the last two visits have been won from 11th (Mike Conway-2014, Josef Newgarden - 2015). Racing up front keeps them away from un-timely yellows. However, racers can get to the front as starting position isn't nearly as important as it used to be.
Scott Dixon will start up on Pole today with Helio Castroneves at his side. Either driver could take victory today. Dixon is the most successful IndyCar driver at Toronto with his aforementioned two wins, and five top-five finishes in nine tries.
Simon Pagenaud and Will Power will make up Row Two. They are also the only two drivers who have won twice in the IndyCar series this season.
Our pick today is Dixon to take the win. He has a solid record here, and something about this track just works well for him.
But keep an eye on the rest of the field... yellows will happen, and if they come at the wrong time its anyone's race to win.
Enjoy the race! it is sure to be another thriller.
Remembering Krosnoff on 20th anniversary of his death
The 2016 Honda Indy Toronto marks the 20th anniversary of driver Jeff Krosnoff's death in a crash during the race, which also claimed the life of track marshal Gary Avrin. Racer.com's Marshall Pruett honored Krosnoff by resurrecting a six-part series he wrote on the driver's life five years ago. Pruett graciously permitted IndyCar.com to share memories of Krosnoff from friends and fellow competitors.
Krosnoff was a 31-year-old Indy car rookie who competed in just 11 races with Arciero-Wells Racing in the CART series before his untimely death July 14, 1996. He had built credibility as a factory driver in other racing disciplines with the likes of Toyota, Nissan and Jaguar before getting a chance to drive an Indy car.
Scott Dixon took advantage of a welcome bonus lap in qualifying and used it to score the Verizon P1 Award for the Honda Indy Toronto.
Dixon's fast lap of 59.9073 seconds (107.326 mph) in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, the final lap of the session, earned his first pole of 2016 and 24th of his career, snapping a tie for 12th place on the all-time Indy car list with Johnny Rutherford. The reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday's 85-lap event, the 32nd Indy car race on the storied 1.786-mile temporary street course.
2016 Toronto: Watch IndyCar Race LIVE Streaming, Weather & TV Schedule
By PaddockTalk.com Staff Writers
Today is round eleven of the 2016 IndyCar season on the 11-turn, 1.75-mile street circuit on the streets of Toronto, Canada. Race coverage begins 2:30 PM ET. The race will be shown LIVE on CNBC from 3PM to 5:30 PM.
Today's options to enjoy the race includes LIVE streaming, live-timing and scoring, and more!
You can follow IndyCar streaming audio of on-track activity at indycar.com.
For LIVE TV, race coverage begins on the CNBC network at 2:30 PM ET and runs until 5:30 PM. The green flag set to wave at 3:10 PM.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): "I thought the DeVilbiss Chevy recovered well. It was tough in qualifying with the used tires, but I am happy with how we recovered from the weekend. We have a great race car and I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3. Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet): "What am I going to say? What am I going to say? I can't believe it. What is it, two hundredths of a second? Congrats to them but the Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet car is really fast. We made a lot of change, I'm talking about a lot of change. All the changes we made seem to be working. Gosh! Come on, (Scott) Dixon! Really? Really? The first session was not good. All credit to (engineer) Jonathan (Diuguid). He hit the right spot on the car on the setup. The second I put the reds (alternate tires) on the second session, my car was like 'Whoa. Back in the game here.' When we went out again on the third one, about to repeat the same lap time we did on the first run. But again, we did not want to wait until the end, since the track always got a little bit better, we did not want to wait till the end because of a yellow or red flag coming out and then would have screwed up with our laps because we knew we were only dealing with two laps. Ganassi is not a rookie team. They're champions. They know what they're doing. Good job by Scott."
2016 Toronto: IndyCar Qualifying Results - Dixon Wins Pole in Dramatic Fashion
By Brad Gerhart
A little too cautious?
Just feeling out the track?
Or perhaps the big improvement to the turn eight apex?
Whatever the case may be, the Verizon IndyCar drivers figured out the tricky 9-10-11 final turn complex as their times from practice one to the end of qualifying dropped from 1:02.9290 (session one best by Sebastien Bourdais) to 2016 Honda Indy Toronto pole sitter, Scott Dixon's time of 59.9073 who accomplished the feat on the very last lap of the Firestone Fast Six. A fairly significant increase of speed and time of just over three full seconds from Friday morning.
“It’s where it should have been to start with,” Dixon said of the turn 8 apex. "Credit to the track (officials) to get the changes done."
Bourdais and Pagenaud Lead Honda Indy Toronto's Saturday Practice Session
By Brad Gerhart
Not much activity in the final practice session before the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers head to qualifying at 1:30 PM EST at the Honda Indy Toronto.
Juan Pablo Montoya ran less than a handful of laps before he pulled his No.2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet to the pits for a good portion of the practice session. He ran a total of 13 laps, way down the charts in 19th, well off the pace.
Mikhail Aleshin brought out the only red flag of the morning session, when he made contact with the outside of the turn 7 wall and damaged his front right suspension and wing.
Like Friday the French drivers continue to showcase their speed as Sebastien Bourdais once again led the initial session of the day with a 1:00.6035, followed by practice two session leader Simon Pagenaud (1:00.8710). Will Power and Helio Castroneves, Pagenaud’s teammates at Penske were third and fourth quickest, followed by Scott Dixon.
A few track changes were made after Friday’s activity; the apex has been altered going into turn eight and the outside wall at turn 11 that Montoya and Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball hit has been replaced with a more stable structure. When Montoya hit on Friday the impact actually moved the barriers back several feet.
Toronto favorite James Hinchcliffe did not improve at all from Friday where he posted the fifth fastest time. He fell down to 18th, a full second off of the leader’s pace time.
2016 Toronto: IndyCar Friday Practice Results - Pagenaud leads practice on reconfigured track
Even before he took to the newly configured track on the streets of Exhibition Place in an Indy car, Simon Pagenaud said he was excited at the opportunity. Following Friday's practices for the Honda Indy Toronto, it's easy to see why.
The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader set the pace on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit in the last of the day's two 45-minute practice sessions, at 1 minute, 1.7081 seconds (104.194 mph) in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet. He edged teammates Helio Castroneves and Will Power for top honors.
"I kind of like changes so I'm good with it," Pagenaud said of the altered track layout that's seen pit lane moved from one side of the main straight to the other and the final four turns tightened. "It's definitely a big change to the last few years. We're never used to changes but personally I enjoy it."
Pagenaud's quick lap came on his very last circuit before the checkered flag waved.
"The PPG car was fast, good," said the three-time 2016 race winner, who holds a 73-point lead in the standings over defending Toronto race winner Josef Newgarden. "We made some adjustments for Practice 2. It actually went better than we expected. We're on a good pace this weekend."
Castroneves was second quick in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet at 1:01.9091 (103.855 mph). A veteran of 13 previous Toronto races, the 41-year-old Brazilian said the revised circuit makes it all new again.
"With the new changes on the track, it's just like a new track," Castroneves said. "You've got to learn, you've got to try new things. No question, we just start all over again. I guess tomorrow is going to continue going faster."
Hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe was fifth overall and the top Honda driver at 1:02.1867 (103.392 mph) in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry. The native of nearby Oakville, Ontario, is also getting adjusted to the track layout.
"Obviously it's a pretty big learning process for everybody out there," Hinchcliffe said. "One-third of the lap roughly is completely different than it has been for as long as I've been racing here. It's definitely very challenging."
The Toronto race is celebrating its 30th year in 2016. Sunday's 85-lapper will be the 32nd Indy car race on the track (including doubleheader weekends in 2013 and '14), making it one of the most enduring in Indy car annals. Hinchcliffe feels that for the event and himself.
"The support here has always been incredible," he said of his homecoming. "It's great to be in the hometown for a little while, meet a lot of the Canadian fans again, see the fans again, a lot of people coming out again. It's awesome. I'm very lucky to be in that position."
Two drivers didn't fare as well in afternoon practice. Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet) and Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chevrolet) each made contact with the Turn 11 wall, though neither was injured. Montoya's car sustained significant right-side damage.
"Nothing broke on the car," Montoya said. "I went in a little out of shape and caught a piece of the (Turn 10) wall and I ricocheted across the track. The DeVilbiss Chevrolet was really good before that, but I have complete faith in my crew and we'll be fine."
A third practice is set for 9:45 a.m. ET Saturday (streamed live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com), with qualifying airing live on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET. Race coverage starts at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with a race re-air at 5:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN.
IndyCar: Change to the Start of the Toronto Honda Indy?
By Brad Gerhart
With the new track configurations there’s a lot of chatter at the track in regards to where the Verizon IndyCar Series will start the 30th Toronto Honda Indy. The last three turn complex of Turn nine through 11 is very narrow and tight with pit road on the outside of the course.
In a press conference today defending race winner Josef Newgarden stated the question came up at the morning driver’s meeting and as of early this afternoon there has been no confirmation as to a final answer as of yet. There’s the possibility of a series vote, perhaps once the on track activity ends just after 3 PM EST on Friday.
“You have to go really really slow to start the race,” Newgarden said. He also stated that the majority of the drivers would prefer to begin the race headed towards turn one, than have the field go all the way to the Lake Shore backstretch and try to squeeze into turn three. “It’s hard to figure out,” Newgarden said of the reconfigured three turns. There are also several concrete patches along the way forcing the drivers to be extra cautious when going hard back on the gas.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): "Nothing broke on the car. I went in a little out of shape and caught a piece of the wall and I ricocheted across the track. The DeVilbiss Chevrolet was really good before that, but I have complete faith in my crew and we'll be fine. That's the thing with street courses. Sometimes there just isn't enough room to recover from a mistake. I'm anxious to get back out there."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3. Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet): "Very good to be back here in Toronto. With the new changes on the track, it's just like a new track. You've got to learn. You've got to try new things. No question, we just start all over again. I guess tomorrow is going to continue going faster. Great for the Pennzoil Chevrolet. Seems to be very good in this session. We learned a lot from the first one. I'm glad that we're able to share information with my teammates, which worked very well for me."
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