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Jul 21, 2014 - 04:17 PM
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Roller Coaster Weekend For Rising Star Racing In Toronto
Posted by: newsla on Jul 21, 2014 - 04:16 PM
IndyCar News
Roller Coaster Weekend For Rising Star Racing In Toronto

Rising Star Racing drivers Josef Newgarden and Spencer Pigot raced through the streets of Toronto over the weekend as part of the Honda Indy Toronto double header event. While Newgarden campaigned the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda in Verizon IndyCar Series competition, Pigot contested the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada double header for Alegra Motorsports.


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The highlight of the weekend came in Pigot’s second race of the weekend in which he dominated the 45-minute event to win with over a 16-second advantage on the field. The result was a welcome one after Pigot faced heartbreak in Race 1 on Saturday. Pigot looked poised for a win in Race 1 only to have a belt break on his No. 21 Alegra Motorsports Porsche while he was leading with just seven minutes to go. He was credited with eighth in class at the finish.

“It was a good race,” said Pigot. “It was going to be a lot of fun. It was going to be a good battle between Scott (Hargrove) and I. We were both really close the first few laps. Unfortunately, he and Chris (Green) got together, and he got a penalty. So it was really a very straightforward race for me. I was just out front by myself, and I didn’t really have to push it that hard. I just hit my marks and didn’t make any mistakes. Just a big thanks to everyone at Alegra for all the hard work this weekend.”

Due to rain, the IndyCar Series raced both double header events on Sunday and shortened each race to 65 laps with an 80 minute time limit. Starting 10th in Race 1, Newgarden was hopeful of a big day in Canada but faced frustration in both races.

The first race of the day featured a rolling start under dry track conditions. Unfortunately, Newgarden was caught up in a Lap 1 incident and fell to the rear of the field. Determined to move forward, Newgarden had worked his way up to 11th in the order when the No. 67 machine went off course late in the race and sustained a broken rear suspension.

Race 2 began under dry conditions with a standing start. The grid was set by championship point order which saw Newgarden start from 17th.

Newgarden moved his way up to the top-10 when rain began to fall and a bold strategy call saw the No. 67 Honda remain out on slick tires while most of the field pitted for rains. Newgarden restarted with the race lead, but as the rain fell harder he was forced to pit under green for rain tires.

He had worked back up to 14th when a yellow flag was displayed once again on Lap 44. As the track had begun to dry out, several teams opted to hit pit road for dry tires. But the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team was one of just two cars to stay out on the rains.

Unfortunately, that strategy did not play out for Newgarden and his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team when the race was red flagged with six minutes to go.

When the race finally went back to green with just three minutes remaining, Newgarden restarted fifth in line. But the track had dried significantly and the rain tires put Newgarden at an extreme disadvantage in the final laps. He took 13th at the checkered flag.

“Toronto wasn’t kind to us this weekend,” said Newgarden. “We had a fast car, the crew was stellar and the team effort was really good. There were just a lot of scenarios that didn’t fall our way. There were three different moments where we just needed circumstances to shake out for us and they didn’t work out. The red flag at the end really put the nail in the coffin. Without the red I think we would have still been okay, but that pretty much finished us off. It was an unfortunate weekend for all of our guys.”

All three Rising Star Racing drivers will be back racing in two weeks at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Pigot and Neil Alberico will be back in Pro Mazda race action, with Newgarden competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

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