Honda Indy Toronto Live Thread

The IndyCars do a doubleheader in Toronto [Honda Indy Toronto Live Thread]

7/14/13 in IndyCar   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - Honda Indy Toronto Live ThreadFor the second time this year, IndyCar is racing twice in one weekend, this time at the venerable street circuit in Toronto, #2inTO according to the hashtag. Toronto is known for crashing and angry drivers at the end of the day, meaning the potential carnage factor is high. As always, turn 3 will be where most of the action is, both in terms of passing and crashing.

The jokes were flying after last week's race at Pocono about the Target Chip Ganassi team being plucky underdogs. The team used fuel strategy to pick up an unexpected podium sweep. While that seems like standing operating procedure for Ganassi, the win by Scott Dixon was the team's first of the year. Did that turn the light bulb on, so to speak? The qualifying results for both races indicate yes. Dario Franchitti, third at Pocono, will start on the pole for today's race, while Dixon grabbed the pole for the 2nd in a blistering time of 58.96 seconds. Charlie Kimball isn't as high placed as his teammates (16th in both races), but he's coming off a 2nd at Pocono, and finished 2nd here at Toronto last year.

Other drivers have shown in both qualifying sessions that they will be contenders. Sebastien Bourdais desperately needs a good result, and starting 2nd in the first race and 7th in the second gives him a good chance to do just that. Will Power and Tony Kanaan qualified in the top six both races. Power is still looking for his first win of the season, while Kanaan is trying to stay in the periphery of the championship hunt. Ryan Briscoe qualified in the top ten both races in the #4 Panther Racing car. That relationship is looking more and more permanent, both this year and beyond. On the opposite side of the grid, Mike Conway, who dominated the Detroit doubleheader, has looked anything but dominant. He will start 20th in the first race, and as of now dead last in the second. Whatever mojo Conway and the #18 car had at Belle Isle has not transferred here. Hometown hero James Hinchcliffe also can't be thrilled so far this weekend, spent mostly midpack.

Speaking of the championship, Helio Castroneves comes to the doubleheader with a 23 point lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay. Helio will start 7th and 3rd in the two races. Hunter-Reay right there with him 6th and 4th. With two races this weekend, up to 106 points can be scored by one driver. This week could see further separation at the top, or those further down in the title race could see themselves right back in it.

One other wrinkle this weekend is standing starts. For the first time maybe ever, IndyCars under this sanction will have a standing start in today's race. Sunday's race will be the usual rolling starts. It adds a level of uncertainly to the proceedings, as most of the drivers haven't done a standing start since their time in more junior series, or at best, the final years of Champ Car. Some people are excited for this, others are dreading. I'm an agnostic about it myself, so I'm willing to see how it goes.

Race coverage both Saturday and Sunday begins at 3:00 on NBC Sports Network, with green flag scheduled for 3:40 eastern both days. Timing and scoring can be found here, while More Front Wing's Event Summary can be found here. Q it up for the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader.
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7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Points through 13 Races:

1. Helio Castroneves 425
2. Scott Dixon -29
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay -69
4. Marco Andretti -70
5. Simon Pagenaud -116
6. Tony Kanaan -118
7. Dario Franchitti -118
8. James Hinchcliffe -120
9. Justin Wilson -129
10. Will Power -152

It looking more and more like it's a two man race for the title with 6 races to go. In three weeks is Mid-Ohio, which Dixon has dominated in the past.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Unofficial Results:

1. Scott Dixon
2. Helio Castroneves
3. Sebastien Bourdais (don't break the trophy this time)
4. Dario Franchitti (but what about that favorable tire decision?0
5. EJ Viso
6. Charlie Kimball
7. Mike Conway (pretty good after starting 23rd)
8. Justin Wilson
9. Marco Andretti
10. Alex Tagliani (only his 2nd top 10 of the year)
11. Josef Newgarden
12. Simon Pagenaud
13. Sebastian Saavedra -1 lap
14. Graham Rahal -1 lap
15. Simona de Silvestro -1 lap
16. Tristan Vautier -1 lap
17. Carlos Munoz -1 lap (not bad for having never turned right in an IndyCar before)
18. Will Power DNF (Contact) (he's definitely done now championship-wise)
19. Ryan Hunter-Reay DNF (Contact) (that over aggressive move was a huge blow to his title hopes)
20. Takuma Sato DNF (Contact)
21. James Hinchcliffe -4 laps
22. Ed Carpenter DNF (Contact)
23. James Jakes DNF (Contact)
24. Tony Kanaan DNF (Contact)

Championship points to come later.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hunter-Reay got overzealous on the restart, going three-wide in turn 1. He clipped Power, causing both to crash. Sato got caught with no where to come.

With the win, Scott Dixon wins $100,000 for winning both races on the weekend. With that, Helio's consistency, and RHR's awful weekend, it's likely a two man title race now.

Full results to come.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Not surprisingly, we have DERP. Power, Hunter-Reay, and Sato. Dixon will win under caution.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

My guess is like yesterday, there isn't enough time to sweep the track, so it'll be a single file restart again.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Also, IndyCar ruled Dario was OK going just one lap on the reds (the initial lap, where he pitted because of the wing problems). The rules state you must two green flag laps on each compound. That, as they say, is bull****.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Yellow with 5 to go. Carpenter into the wall on the exit of 5.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon gone again, helped by lapped cars that were between him and Helio. Power by Bourdais for 4th. Both by RHR for 3rd and 4th.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Restart coming with 15 to go.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Jakes with a hard hit on the exit of turn 5, bringing out the first yellow. Dario was in the pits at the time, a huge break for him. He comes out in 6th place.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Most of Vautier's front wing if laying on the straightaway leading into turn 3. The leaders are pitting now. Dixon remains well up front.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Halfway home (somehow no cautions yet), and Dixon leads Helio by 5.8 seconds. Power is 3rd a whopping 22 second back. Rest of the top 10: RHR, Bourdais, Viso, Sato, Tags, Vautier, Wilson. Dario has worked his way up to 12th.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

TK continues to pit very early for some reason.

And now Kanaan has hit the wall on the exit of turn 11 and has damaged his suspension. His day is likely over.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Kimball is once again the final car to pit. Dixon cycles through with a big lead of 8.1 seconds on Helio. Dario is third since he pitted back on lap one. Power, Hunter-Reay, and Bourdais will inherit the rest of the top 5.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Sato started 14th, and is up to 7th. Kanaan pits to start the first cycle.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Conway is up 9 spots to 14th already. Hinchcliffe is on track, but 3 laps down.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

We got through the start clean except for Ed stalling. Dario though suffered wing damage and had to pit to change it.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

They moved out to start...and Hinch's throttle pedal is stuck. He's cursed here or something.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Today's Starting Grid:

Row 1: Dixon, Franchitti
Row 2: Castroneves, Hunter-Reay
Row 3: Power, Kanaan
Row 4: Bourdais, Tagliani
Row 5: de Silvestro, Viso
Row 6: Hinchcliffe, Pagenaud
Row 7: Wilson, Sato
Row 8: Kimball, Vautier
Row 9: Andretti, Newgarden
Row 10: Rahal, Jakes
Row 11: Saavedra, Carpenter
Row 12: Conway, Munoz

There will be at least a second attempt at a standing start if the first attempt is aborted. Also, tires have been put back at turn 5, and cutting the corner is again not allowed.

7/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

A few notes before today's second race.

-Ryan Briscoe broke his wrist in yesterday's race. He will be replaced by Carlos Munoz, who until today's warm-up had never been in an IndyCar on a road or street circuit. Of course, after Indy we know his talent.

-Dario and the Ganassi team appealed the penalty, and it was reversed (rightly, the penalty was BS). Dario is back into 3rd place in race one.

-They will try standing starts again today.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio has a 41 point lead over Hunter-Reay, 44 over Dixon, and 50 over Marco. We'll be back tomorrow, where Dixon starts on the pole, followed by a very pissed off Dario.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Unofficial Results:

1. Scott Dixon
2. Sebastien Bourdais
3. Marco Andretti (pretty quiet top 5 becomes a pretty quiet podium)
4. Tony Kanaan
5. Helio Castroneves
6. Mike Conway
7. James Hinchcliffe (his best finish at his home track)
8. Simon Pagenaud
9. Simona de Silvestro (came out of nowhere, but at Toronto keeping your nose clean can pay dividends)
10. Justin Wilson
11. James Jakes
12. Ed Carpenter
13. Dario Franchitti (still taking part of podium ceremony, blow up coming)
14. EJ Viso
15. Will Power
16. Sebastian Saavedra -1 lap
17. Alex Tagliani -1 lap
18. Ryan Hunter-Reay -2 laps
19. Tristan Vautier -2 laps
20. Graham Rahal -3 laps
21. Charlie Kimball DNF (Contact)
22. Ryan Briscoe DNF (Contact) (open question whether he can go tomorrow with his wrist injury today)
23. Josef Newgarden -51 laps (yes, he came back and finished the race after not getting going at the start)
24. Takuma Sato DNF (Mechanical)

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dario has been given a time penalty for blocking Power on the last lap. He is now classified 13th. Dario doesn't even know about it. He's still standing on the podium!

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

According to More Front Wing, "Prior to race, drivers were told restart would be single file if there was not time to sweep a second line for a double file restart." So the drivers did know a single file restart was possible, and since it was that or don't restart, that's fine.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Scott Dixon wins the first Honda Indy Toronto! Sebastien Bourdais finishes 2nd, the best finish ever for Dragon Racing. Bourdais is the 17th different driver to finish on the podium this year. Full results to come, as the incident between Power and Dario is under review.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Power hits the tire barrier trying to pass Dario in turn 3!

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Restart will be single file because they can't sweep the marbles away. Barnhart making crap up again.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

They're going to restart on the final lap. Green and white at the same time. Dixon leads Bourdais, Dario, and Power.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Pagenaud and Tagliani touch in turn one. Tags gets around and full course yellow with 4 to go.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Bourdais is holding onto 2nd for dear life. Power right behind in 4th interested in the proceedings.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hunter-Reay into the tire barrier. No full course yellow.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon uses a push to pass on the front stretch going into 3, and takes the lead from Bourdais before the turn. 7 to go.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

Dixon right behind Bourdais, who is out of pushes to pass. 10 to go.

No action taken on the restart.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Look who's making moves now: Mike Conway. Up to 8th and all over TK right now.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

They are looking at the restart. It might've been too good for Bourdais. Helio, meanwhile, has moved into 6th and is looking at another important points day.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Bourdais takes the lead on the restart! 15 to go.

Unfortunately, Hinchcliffe has a problem with his bodywork.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

With less than 20 to go, Dixon leads. Bourdais is 2nd, and is the only top guy on reds. This will help Bourdais, since it will keep those tires from degrading as fast. Bourdais hadn't taken reds yet in the race, so he had to this time around.

Rest of the top 10: Power, Dario, TK, Helio, Hinch, Marco, Carpenter, Conway. The stall for RHR dropped him back to 14th.

On the negative side, Briscoe exited the car holding his wrist.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

And from that amazing stuff, we have an incident in turn 5 (the turn they can jump the curb) between Wilson, Kimball, Briscoe, and Saavedra. Yellow.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon gets out ahead of Power. Power tries to pass in turn 3 but gets too hot and can't do it. Bourdais pits and gets out behind Dixon but ahead of Power. Power tries in 3 but can't get it done. Great stuff!

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon with a great save! Power into the pits.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hunter-Reay stalls again!

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Second round of pit stops have begun, and by my count some of these guys can't make it to the end without yellow.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Top 5 (all on blacks): Power, Bourdais, Dixon, Dario, RHR. Then it's Viso (first on reds), Kimball (who went the most laps before pitting: 32), Helio, Hinch, TK. Marco is up to 11th.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Yellow for an incident between Vautier and Rahal in turn four. The rookie got too aggressive and tapped Graham. We have about 50 laps to go.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Bourdais got out ahead of Power in the pit cycle, but Power makes the move in turn 1 to take the lead.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Originally the drivers were told not to jump a certain curb. Now they say they won't enforce that. Barnhart is back just one weekend and already making crap up on the fly.

Pit stops going on now, and Hunter-Reay stalls it!

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Wow. Bourdais makes a great pass for the lead, then Power sneaks through for 2nd. Dixon then gets by Dario for 3rd. Franchitti drops from 1st to 4th in one lap.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The reds are starting to fall off, and Bourdais has taken advantage to get close to Dario.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Finally green, Dixon and TK had a nice battle for 5th, and now Dixon is by RHR for 4th. Top three are Dario, Bourdais, and Power. Bourdais the only one at the front who started on blacks.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Newgarden is still stalled, so the rolling start was aborted. The race has started and laps are counting. This is embarrassing.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

All that about standing starts...and Newgarden is stalled so aborted start. Thus, we'll do a rolling start.

7/13/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Takuma Sato has been put on probation for his incident in the pits last week that took out Ryan Hunter-Reay. Not sure what took so long.

One thing to watch is that Race Director Beaux Barfield is not in Toronto for personal reasons (rumors are passport issues), and thus the infamous Brian Barnhart is back in the chair for this weekend. That could be, uh, interesting.