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Archive for July 18th, 2017

Newgarden knows how to win at Toronto; second time in three years IndyCar driver captures race

Josef Newgarden By NicholasJLove - This photograph was taken before the Indy 500 on May 25, 2012 CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

Newgarden follows familiar path to Honda Indy Toronto victory

TORONTO (Sunday, July 16, 2017) – For the second time in three years, Josef Newgarden was the winning beneficiary of fortunate pit stop timing at the Honda Indy Toronto.

Newgarden seized the lead by making his first stop just before a full-course caution flag waved on the streets course at Exhibition Place. The Team Penske driver led 58 of the last 61 laps to win the Verizon IndyCar Series race by 1.8704 seconds over Alexander Rossi.

HONDA INDY TORONTO: Box score

It is Newgarden’s second win of the 2017 season – following his April victory at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – and his second Toronto win in three years. Like today, Newgarden’s 2015 Toronto triumph was also set up by a timely pit stop made prior to a full-course caution.

“That is twice I have had good calls and got into the pits at the right time,” Newgarden said. “Thank you to the guys and thank you to Tim (Cindric, race strategist) for making that call. We got it right, but it was all about managing the race after that.

“I thought we had a very fast car, we got a pretty good start and stayed out of the mayhem. Very, very happy for all of Team Penske, and this DeVilbiss Chevy was pretty bright, but it was pretty fast, too.”

Newgarden’s win today in the No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet also tightened the season championship chase after 12 of 17 races. Points leader Scott Dixon finished 10th after making first-lap contact with Will Power, whose three Team Penske teammates now lurk within 23 points of first place.

Helio Castroneves trails Dixon by three points after finishing eighth in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Simon Pagenaud is 19 points behind Dixon after finishing fifth in the No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet and Newgarden is 23 points behind. The Verizon IndyCar Series championship has been decided in the final race of the season every year since 2006.

“Overall, it was a good weekend for us,” said Pagenaud, the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion. “We made up some ground in points and it’s always great to visit Toronto. Congratulations to the No. 2 team and all of Team Penske.”

Castroneves, who started third, jumped pole sitter Pagenaud and Graham Rahal for the lead with a brilliant inside pass in Turn 1 on the first of 85 laps around the 11-turn, 1.786-mile street circuit. Newgarden was running fourth when he made his first stop for fuel and tires on Lap 23, seconds before Tony Kanaan ran into the Turn 1 tire barrier to bring out the caution flag and pit lane was closed.

Once the pits were reopened under yellow, Newgarden inherited the lead when the other front-runners made their stops and he never looked back in collecting the fifth win of his six-year Verizon IndyCar Series career. It is the sixth win for Team Penske in 2017 and No. 193 for the organization in its Indy car history – the most of any team.

Rossi climbed from the eighth starting position to place second, the best showing for the driver of the No. 98 Andretti Autosport/Curb Honda since his memorable win in the 2016 Indianapolis 500. Rossi led an Andretti Autosport renewal with Marco Andretti finishing a season-best fourth and Ryan Hunter-Reay sixth.

“If you look at where we were last year,” Rossi said, “the last four cars in qualifying, to having three cars in the top 10 (in the race), really having something to fight for today, it’s a testament not only to this weekend and the strength the team has shown, but also this offseason and how much better 2017 has been for us, has been for Honda.

“I think things are starting to finally come together. We’ve been looking for a breakthrough this year. I think this is it.”

For the second straight year, Toronto-area native James Hinchcliffe started sixth and finished third to the delight of the hometown fans. Hinchcliffe, in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, also benefited from making his first stop the lap prior to Newgarden.

“The yellow just came at the right time, but we had the pace at the end there,” Hinchcliffe said. “We were catching Alex and Josef in that last stint. The car really came alive on the (Firestone primary) blacks, so big thanks to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, all the guys – great stops – and all the fans in Toronto. The support that we feel each and every year is amazing.”

Honda Indy Toronto event promoter Green Savoree Promotions announced today that it has extended its agreement with Honda Canada Inc. to continue sponsoring the Verizon IndyCar Series event through 2020.

The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 30. It airs live at 3 p.m. ET on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network with a re-air on NBCSN at 7 p.m. the same day.

Kaiser, Thompson complete Mazda Road to Indy sweeps

Kyle Kaiser won the second Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race at Toronto in as many days today, as did Parker Thompson in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda.

Kaiser took the lead of the Indy Lights race when pole sitter Colton Herta’s car stopped on course with a mechanical malfunction. The Juncos Racing driver won by 5.8649 seconds over Aaron Telitz and stretched his championship lead to 52 points over Matheus Leist after 12 of 16 races.

Thompson, meanwhile, avoided a three-car crash in front of him and drove his Exclusive Autosport entry to the USF2000 win by 0.6379 of a second over Rinus VeeKay. Oliver Askew holds an 18-point lead over VeeKay after 11 of 14 races.

 

RACE RECAP WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Quotes from IndyCar’s Sunday race from Honda Indy Toronto

“What They’re Saying” from the Honda Indy Toronto

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “The DXC Technology Chevrolet was tremendous all weekend. We just didn’t get that first stop in before the yellow like Josef (Newgarden) did. Overall, it was a good weekend for us. We made up some ground in points and it’s always great to visit Toronto. Congratulations to the No. 2 team and all of Team Penske.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet):
“I think that is twice I have had good calls and got into the pits at the right time. Thank you to the guys and thank you to Tim (Cindric) for making that call. We got it right, but it was all about managing the race after that. I thought we had a very fast car, we got a pretty good start, and stayed out of the mayhem. Very, very happy for all of Team Penske, and this DeVilbiss Chevy was pretty bright, but it was pretty fast too.  I am pumped for all the No. 2 car guys today, they did an amazing job for Team Penske today.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): (About his pass for the lead at the start): “In 1997 I did a move in the No. 3 Hitachi Chevy like that in Indy Lights when I was driving here. It was really funny – because I’m like, ‘Man, I’m going to go for it.’ As soon as we were braking, we had the reds (Firestone alternate tires) and the car was really good. I didn’t lock (the brakes) or anything – it was a clean pass. I told the guys, ‘Listen, I’m going to be fair, but if there is an opportunity I’ll take it.’ Great job – great job to everybody at Team Penske and to Josef (Newgarden). Obviously, the yellow there was a little tough, but I’ll tell you what, our cars are good and this place is always like that. Whoever is in the lead sometimes gets caught with the yellow and gets the bad side of it.”

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet):
“The car was pretty good, but we have to look at everything because I have no idea why the car was so slow down the straight. It might not be a power thing, might just be we had too much downforce, because the car was good by myself, but we were just a sitting duck down the straights. It was difficult to defend and attack. I was on the limiter halfway down the straight. I think the car was better than where we finished.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda):
“The yellow just came at the right time, but we had the pace at the end there. We were catching Alexander (Rossi) and Josef (Newgarden) in that last stint. The car really came alive on the blacks, so big thanks to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, all the guys – great stops – and all the fans in Toronto. I mean the support that we feel each and every year is amazing. You guys are the best. You came even when the weather wasn’t looking awesome and hung out with us and we appreciate it. So thanks to all of you guys. Next year, maybe a couple of spots better.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 7 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I feel like that is a very successful weekend in the books. I’m very appreciative of the whole Schmidt Peterson Motorsports organization for taking me in and just making me feel like I’m home. I felt the same throughout the race and had a pretty solid car. We kept clean for the first stint, just tried to stay away from trouble, and when I started pushing, the car was there for me. Great strategy from the SPM guys and getting me out of those reds (Firestone alternate tires) and getting me some free time for me to do my thing. It played off perfectly with those yellows, and we managed to get in with the guys up front, which changed the speed of the race for us. We had the car to do it. We’re proud of the pit stops, proud of the strategy and of course having a good car makes my life as a driver a lot easier.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): “I’m happy with the result on the No. 8 Gallagher car today here in Toronto. It was a bit of a wild race and it seemed to fly by, but on the whole I’m happy with the result. The Gallagher crew did some very fast and clean stops. We stayed out of trouble and we maintained our position in the championship. I think we even managed to pull away from the people behind us in the standings.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda):
“It was a rough day in the NTT Data car. I had a good start in Turn 1, and it looked like (Graham) Rahal decided to shift lanes and I had to avoid him. Then (Will) Power and I got together and ended up cutting down our tire and doing some damage to the suspension on the car. Then we had to fix the car and INDYCAR gave us a drive-through penalty, which was kind of odd. And then that kind of hosed our best efforts for the day and we ended up 10th.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda):
“It’s just such a letdown to finish where we did today. The No. 10 NTT Data Honda was so quick. I came off of pit lane pushing hard on cold tires into Turn 1 after our first stop and just didn’t make the turn. I don’t think the bumpiness of the track in that area helped either. After the front wing change, we just couldn’t ever get those two laps we lost back. I’m really frustrated for the No. 10 car, because we have so much potential most races and we just can’t catch a break.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a really disappointing day for the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet team. We had a strong car all weekend and I know it could have been really fast during the race. We had bad luck on the first lap and it ruined the rest of the race since we could not get it repaired to go back out. We’ve performed really well at Toronto in the past, so we’re just disappointed we couldn’t give the fans at Toronto the show we knew we could put on.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet):
“Not the race we wanted really. We were lucky on the first yellow, but after that, nothing came our way with the other yellows. There’s nothing to do but just keep working hard.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rousseau Metal Honda): “I got the call after we passed pit in. (Josef) Newgarden was just lucky because he was falling off the train of the three of us (Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and me). He was 2.5 seconds behind us, or just enough to get the call. When they said to me ‘Pit, pit’ I was turning into Turn 9. Obviously, I can’t see what’s going on in Turn 1. We played it right today, but got unlucky. The three best cars didn’t win the race or finish 1-2-3. There was nobody that was a match for the three of us all day. It’s a shame, but sometimes luck plays a role in these things. Congrats to Josef (Newgarden), he still brought it home, but you could see in the first stint that Simon, Helio and myself were taking off and I felt that was a pretty easy pace for us to maintain and go from there. Obviously, I’m disappointed for the Rousseau team. I’m happy for our United Rentals Turns for Troops (lap completed) program. We raised another several thousand dollars to help our veterans. But I’m frustrated because today was a day we should have easily gained a lot of points on (Scott) Dixon, Newgarden and everybody else, but unfortunately the way the officials have decided to close the pits these days, luck plays a huge factor  and today it bit us. We got it home and got another top 10, but I’m disappointed, and rightly so, and our guys are too. They know the car that we put on the track today was a car that was capable of winning this race. The guys did a great job in the pits, and I think we have proven that the No. 15 is one of the cars to beat each and every single weekend and probably legitimately one of the few that can take it to Penske every weekend. I’m just extremely proud of this organization.”

ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ (No. 18 UNIFIN Honda): “It was a very difficult weekend, but in another way it was quite positive because the gap with the guys in front has been improving race by race. We saw here that we had good potential in qualifying. Unfortunately we had the crash which was a big reset for us, because coming into the warm up with a new car, I was not feeling completely 100 percent. We had to make some adjustments for the race. We fell back a little bit with the crash in qualifying, but looking at the pace, looking at how the race went on, we can take some positives from that. I really want to thank the team because it was a big job to build up the car. I appreciate all their effort and all their work. Today the car was really good and everything was working well. To put together a car from scratch and to put it on the track and to have everything running well, it’s quite challenging so thank you to them.”

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “It was a frustrating day. In the first stint, we were picked up quite a few spots passing cars and I feel like we had the pace to be in the top six. We got unlucky by the caution and that’s what sent us to the back. We tried to gamble a bit for rain, but that didn’t work out. At the end of the day, we had an oil line issue so it wouldn’t have worked out anyway. It was frustrating, but it was good to see that we had a lot of potential and we’ll try to carry that forward to Mid-Ohio.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “The race started off really well. It was tough initially to keep everyone behind me when we were on blacks (Firestone primary tires) and everyone else was on reds (Firestone alternate tires) at the start. It kind of came to us and we were able to pass a lot of guys and work our way up to fourth or fifth by the end of the first stint. The yellow was going to be bad timing for us anyway, but after that restart I had some contact with Sato. His wing cut my left rear tire. We had to make a stop for that and that put us in the back for the rest of the race.  We never caught another yellow to make up for it. Another promising race that went the wrong way for us. Overall, I’m really happy with everything the Fuzzy’s Vodka guys did, a big thanks to them.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): “I thought we were looking good to save fuel and go long on that first stint if we didn’t get hit with that first yellow. At that point, we were just stuck in the back, saving fuel for the rest of the race. A bummer because we definitely made some progress this weekend, had a much better start and we were looking on the racey side. We’ll have to wait for the next one.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda):
“I’m disappointed with the way the race turned out today. We made a good start, and made a few positions up. Just after the yellow, coming to Turn 3 I was outside, and then in Turn 4 I was inside alongside (Spencer) Pigot and he just turned into me. I was sandwiched by him and the wall and I had nowhere to go. We tangled and we got a puncture and that was it. After that there wasn’t another yellow, so I tried to catch up with the field and overtake a few cars, but couldn’t get there. It’s a shame; the car worked really well. I think we were one of the strongest of the group in the field in terms of the pace, so it’s really a shame.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda):
“I think (it seemed like) we were quiet all weekend because we got hosed by that yellow in qualifying. But, I think our pace was actually about sixth or seventh, so we’re happy to come away with a fourth. My engineer did a good job with the car. We were really balanced. I could really wring it out and we saved fuel at the end. I had a good car here in Toronto. I’m happy for the UFD team; the boys did a great job for us all day in the pits.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda):
“We had a bit of a handful today, for sure. The result was a good turnaround, though. Really nice good job by Alex (Rossi), finishing second and Marco (Andretti) grabbing fourth. We had a great battle with Simon (Pagenaud). I was almost able to hold him off to keep fifth, but we just couldn’t keep it and finished sixth. I just got too loose at the end. I think I burnt the rears off trying to catch Marco. That’s the way it goes, though. Overall, it was a pretty good day and a good turnaround from last year.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Honda): “Obviously not what we expected or wanted for the No. 83 car here in Toronto. I felt like we were behind the 8-ball all weekend. We were making positive changes to the car, but we weren’t seeing the improvements on track during practice or qualifying. The race just didn’t play out for our strategy and we didn’t catch the yellow we needed. Regardless, it was nice to have the Novo Nordisk Honda up front for a few laps. We’ll just refocus and head to Mid-Ohio where the No. 83 car has some good memories.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Andretti Autosport/Curb Honda): “This finish has been a long time coming. We had the Indy win, but I’ve been looking for that first podium and hopefully this will be a foundation to go and chase more wins. I’m relieved that we finally kind of got the monkey off our back. It was a huge turnaround overnight by Andretti Autosport to get the car where it needed to be for the race today. Qualifying was a huge effort for the whole team. I’m very proud of Honda for the effort they’ve made. As we’ve said, this year has been a huge turnaround. Big shout out to the Toronto fans for coming out to the race. It really is amazing coming here, and hopefully we can carry this momentum on to Mid-Ohio and get a win.”

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Newgarden, Rossi, Hinchcliffe run 1-2-3 at IndyCar Race in Toronto

Honda Indy Toronto race results

Click HERE to view and download the official box score of the Honda Indy Toronto.

TORONTO-Results Sunday of the Honda Indy Toronto Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.786-mile Streets of Toronto’s Exhibition Place, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (7) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 85, Running
2. (8) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 85, Running
3. (6) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 85, Running
4. (11) Marco Andretti, Honda, 85, Running
5. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 85, Running
6. (16) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 85, Running
7. (9) Max Chilton, Honda, 85, Running
8. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 85, Running
9. (2) Graham Rahal, Honda, 85, Running
10. (5) Scott Dixon, Honda, 85, Running
11. (20) Sebastian Saavedra, Honda, 85, Running
12. (17) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 85, Running
13. (12) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 85, Running
14. (21) Esteban Gutierrez, Honda, 85, Running
15. (19) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 85, Running
16. (10) Takuma Sato, Honda, 85, Running
17. (18) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 85, Running
18. (13) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 84, Running
19. (14) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 83, Running
20. (15) Ed Jones, Honda, 75, Mechanical
21. (4) Will Power, Chevrolet, 0, Contact

Race Statistics:
Winner’s average speed: 95.790 mph
Time of Race: 1:35:05.3522
Margin of victory: 1.8704 seconds
Cautions: 2 for 9 laps
Lead changes: 4 among 4 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Castroneves 1-24
Newgarden 25-53
Chilton 54
Pagenaud 55-56
Newgarden 57-85

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings:
Scott Dixon 423, Castroneves 420, Pagenaud 404, Newgarden 400, Power 359, Rahal 359, Sato 351, Rossi 330, Kanaan 306, Hinchcliffe 297.

 

RACE RESULTS WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

Simon Pagenaud takes first 2017 pole at Toronto with record-setting lap

 

Simon Pagenaud in 2015 By Sarah Stierch, Own work, CC BY 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

TORONTO (Saturday, July 15, 2017) – Simon Pagenaud has put himself in the thick of the hunt for a second straight Verizon IndyCar Series title without earning the pole position for a race in 2017. Until today, that is.

The reigning series champion set a track record for the current layout on the streets of Exhibition Place to capture the Verizon P1 Award and first starting position for the Honda Indy Toronto. The driver of the No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet will lead the 21-car field to the green flag in Sunday’s 85-lap race on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street circuit.

HONDA INDY TORONTO: Qualifying results

In the Firestone Fast Six – the third and final round of the knockout qualifying format employed on Verizon IndyCar Series road and street courses – Pagenaud clocked a lap of 58.9124 seconds (109.138 mph) to win his first pole position of the season and 10th of his eight-year Indy car career. The lap was more than eight-tenths of a second quicker than the previous record (59.7747 seconds) set last year by Will Power.

“It’s been a great weekend so far,” said Pagenaud, who earned Team Penske’s eighth pole this season and its 253rd in Indy car history. “The car is really, really nice to drive. The most satisfying thing is to feel like as an athlete that you can extract the best out of yourself and be one with the car. That’s what I’ve always dreamt about and today I feel that way.”

Pagenaud said he enjoys the challenges of Toronto’s downtown circuit, with its tight corners and numerous surface changes. He’s looking forward to starting Sunday’s race from the point.

“Usually when I start in the front, I feel like things can go well, but you never know here,” said Pagenaud, third in the 2017 championship after 11 of 17 races and now within 30 points of leader Scott Dixon after collecting one point for winning the pole. “It’s such an exciting race, always a twist here in the strategy, so anything can happen. But cross fingers that it goes our way.”

Graham Rahal scored his best Toronto qualifying effort in 12 tries and will start second in the No. 15 Rousseau Metal Honda with a lap of 59.2245 seconds (108.563 mph) in the Firestone Fast Six.

“Honestly, I think on used (alternate) tires, it’s probably the best lap I’ve ever put together to put us P2,” the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver said. “The Penskes looked like they were going to run away with this thing. I’m so geeked for this team. These boys have worked so hard and, man, I couldn’t be more proud of them. That was awesome.”

A pair of Pagenaud’s teammates at Team Penske, Helio Castroneves and Power, locked up the second row in qualifying. Castroneves was third fastest in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet (59.4345 seconds, 108.180 mph) with defending race winner Power fourth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet (59.5430 seconds, 107.982 mph).

Dixon was fifth in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda (59.7970 seconds, 107.524 mph). The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has advanced to the Firestone Fast Six at every road- and street-course race where it has been contested this season.

The final spot in the Firestone Fast Six went to hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe, who equaled his best Toronto qualifying effort of sixth with a lap of 1 minute, 0.14145 seconds in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

“It’s always tricky qualifying here,” said Hinchcliffe, who finished third in last year’s Toronto race. “This track is one of the those with all the surface changes and, where the walls are, it’s tough to get that lap on the (Firestone alternate) reds. … I’m really proud of the SPM Arrow guys. Top six (in qualifying) two years in a row, and last year we turned it into a podium, so let’s hope for more of the same tomorrow.”

Two incidents in earlier qualifying rounds affected drivers Esteban Gutierrez and JR Hildebrand.

Gutierrez, the Verizon IndyCar Series rookie driving the No. 18 UNIFIN Honda, made hard contact with the wall at the exit of Turn 11 at the conclusion of Segment 1, Group 1 qualifying. The Dale Coyne Racing entry sustained significant right-side and rear damage in the incident.

Gutierrez was evaluated by INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Michael Olinger after experiencing concussion-like symptoms. The 25-year-old from Monterrey, Mexico, was treated and released but has not been cleared to drive, pending further evaluation Sunday morning.

Hildebrand hit the wall in Segment 2 qualifying when his No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet jumped the curb on the inside of Turn 8 and slid into the outside barrier. The Ed Carpenter Racing driver was uninjured and will start 12th in Sunday’s race, the 33rd for Indy cars in Toronto dating to the first event in 1986.

A final 30-minute warmup practice is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday and streams live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com. Live coverage of the 85-lap race commences at 3 p.m. on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with an encore presentation airing at 7 p.m. on NBCSN.

Mazda Road to Indy recap

Points leader Kyle Kaiser led wire to wire to win the first of two Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires races this weekend on the streets of Toronto. Kaiser, in the No. 18 Juncos Racing Mazda/Dallara IL-15, started from the pole after setting a track record in morning qualifying and led all 35 laps.

Zachary Claman De Melo of Carlin finished second, 3.6118 seconds behind Kaiser. Carlin’s Matheus Leist, second to Kaiser in the championship, finished 13th after crashing into a tire barrier on Lap 4, allowing Kaiser to extend his points lead to 37 after 11 races.

In the first race of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda weekend, Parker Thompson led all 25 laps to win in front of his fellow Canadians. The Exclusive Autosport driver crossed the finish line 0.8730 of a second ahead of championship leader Oliver Askew of Cape Motorsports.

The second Toronto races for Indy Lights and USF2000 will be contested Sunday.

 

QUALIFYING RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Quotes from qualifying at Honda Indy Toronto

“What They’re Saying” from Honda Indy Toronto qualifying

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a really good lap, one of the best I’ve ever put together. Certainly, there is not much more in it, but the whole qualifying I worked on details and driving. My teammates, they are tremendous. It’s such a good atmosphere when we work together. Each practice we talked about how we manage the corners and we keep improving each other. I feel like I really extracted the best out of my car, the best out of my setup today. It’s obviously the most satisfying thing and that is what I’m always seeking for.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): “We just missed the Firestone Fast Six by like a tenth of a second or something. I didn’t get it done. The margins in this series are razor thin and sometimes you come up on the short end. The DeVilbiss Chevrolet guys have worked hard and the car is really solid. It’s not like all is lost or anything. We’ll start seventh and go to work from there.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was pretty good. The Hitachi Chevy was running really, really good. Obviously my teammates, we’re all working together, pushing each other, and in my group, the car was running really smooth, picking up a little bit of understeer with the blacks (Firestone primary tires), so I was trying to make some adjustments. That’s the fun part about it, you start making some adjustments and try to rush into it. But it worked pretty well and we saved the best for last. But definitely Simon (Pagenaud) put up a phenomenal lap out there. I mean, I wish I would have started with brand new (tires) instead of stopping and coming back in, so it would have given us a little bit more of a possibility to keep pushing every lap.”

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “I think we gained a good amount from the first set of reds (Firestone alternate tires) to the next. We’ve improved with every set of tires we put on, which is good, but we’re just not there yet. We understand that it is still taking some time for us. I think we can be happy with the gains we made and I think we’ll have a good car for the race. The key is consistency and being able to take advantage of other people’s mistakes. There’s a lot going on around here. The walls are very close. So taking advantage of other people’s mistakes and maybe some strategic play could work for us. There’s a lot about this race that’s interesting.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It’s always tricky qualifying here. This track is one of the those with all the surface changes and where the walls are, it’s tough to get that lap on the reds (Firestone alternate tires). We caught a break in Segment 1 because we were on our fastest lap outside of the top six when Esteban [Gutierrez] had his accident. That obviously knocked him back and put us through to the next round. Then we were on our out lap in Segment 2 when the red (flag) came out which set up the one-lap dash, and I just committed everything I had into that last lap and I snuck into the Firestone Fast Six. I’m really proud of the SPM Arrow guys – top six two years in a row, and last year we turned it into a podium, so let’s hope for more of the same tomorrow.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 7 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda):“I’m disappointed, of course… feeling bittersweet because I’m very excited to be here, but at the same time, we had a lot more in the No. 7 Honda-powered machine (in qualifying). I just felt that I waited a bit too long on that red (Firestone alternate tire) stint, which hurt us with the red flag. We probably could have battled with (James) Hinch(cliffe) or (Ryan) Hunter-Reay. I don’t think we would have been quicker than Hinch, but I think we had the potential to be up there. The big progression we’ve had in only three sessions has been incredible, so huge thanks to the whole Schmidt Peterson Motorsports organization. They’ve made me feel at home and helped me get the rust off and get up to speed so quickly. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow; it’s a long race and I’m very satisfied with the car we’ve put together. We’ll see what happens, maybe with some weather, it should be fun.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): “Qualifying wasn’t terrible, but we’ve had better results on road and street circuits this year, and we were obviously hoping for more. We would have loved to get through into the final round but just didn’t get there. We have some work to do tonight but I’m confident we’ll have a good Gallagher car tomorrow for the race here in Toronto.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda): “It’s been a rough start to the weekend for us. We really struggled finding the right balance for the car. From last year to this year, we’ve been dealing with a completely different configuration. I thought some of the gains we made this year on other street courses didn’t translate here for some reason. We reverted back to our setup yesterday in the NTT Data car when we were in the top three, but it’s just a handful around here. We had a great lap going, but I smashed the fence in Turn 6 in qualifying on the second lap, which cost us at least one spot I think. All in all my hands are full, but hopefully we can make some small improvements to get the car a bit better for the race tomorrow.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda):
“I’m disappointed with where we qualified today. We had a top-10 car in the No. 10 NTT Data Honda, but our qualifying effort obviously doesn’t show it. I got held up on my fast lap in the first round, but we just couldn’t avoid it. It’s difficult when you do what you need to do to advance, but something else that you can’t control takes it away. We have a hard day of working our way back to the front tomorrow, but we know our car is faster than where we’re starting, so we’ll take advantage of that and make it back to where we need to be.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet):
“Obviously, the cars are really good. My qualifying on the blacks (Firestone primary tires) was really fast. Definitely the car felt good, a bit on the reds (Firestone alternate tires). Didn’t get a good read on that when it went red there. I only had one lap and it had a lot of push, and I thought, ‘Well, maybe the fronts weren’t in,’ and then didn’t have time to make a change for the Firestone Fast Six. Just a big imbalance, and got as much as I could out of it, as it was, so starting fourth is pretty good around here. Try to keep out of the mess.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet):
“Really disappointing qualifying session. In Practice 3 we were looking good (10th). Yesterday we couldn’t try the red (Firestone alternate) tires (electrical issues) and there was some balance change in the car when we ran them in qualifying today. Starting from the back tomorrow. Hopefully we have crazy weather tomorrow to help us to go to the front, but I’m really disappointed for the team because in Practice 3 we were not looking bad.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rousseau Metal Honda): “That was awesome. I couldn’t be more proud of the Rousseau team. These boys have worked so hard and we put it together in (the Firestone Fast Six). To finish second in (the Firestone Fast Six) after seeing how dominant Penske was all weekend, that’s better than a pole for me. We can definitely race them hard from here. I think we have a pretty good race car.  We just need to settle her down a little bit. Those Penske’s had new reds (Firestone alternate tires) to finish qualifying and I’m really surprised Helio (Castroneves) and Will (Power) didn’t get us. I think it’s going to be a great race tomorrow. Trust me, we’re going to give them everything we’ve got. We need good points here. We want to get a win. When you have a car like this, and a team like this, it makes it a lot more confidence inspiring. When you go out there, you know that you have what it takes to get the job done. They have made my life a lot easier and I am proud of them. A result like this is great for all of our partners.”

ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ (No. 18 UNIFIN Honda): “It was not ideal obviously, it’s been a tough weekend overall. Yesterday we lost a bit of track time due to contact in Turn 1 and today it was a pretty hard hit in a high-speed corner. I was having some understeer and I was trying to anticipate a bit the entry of the corner, but I touched the inside wall a bit and it sent me straight into the outside wall, pretty hard. It’s unfortunate and I feel really bad for the team, they have a lot of work to do.”

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “It was a tough qualifying, but the jump with the Firestone reds (alternate tires) was very big. I thought I did a pretty good lap, but I missed by just a little bit, like a tenth, to advance to the fast 12. It was close, as usual, but frustrating at the same time, but I’m sure we can have a good race tomorrow.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “It’s a little frustrating to miss transferring again by such a small margin – a hundredth of a second! – but that’s the nature of Indy car racing. It’s always extremely close. We’ve made good progress with the car over the weekend, especially on black tires. Hopefully that will be the tire of choice for the race tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do with the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): “I’m happy to have advanced on to the second round of qualifying. That was definitely on our list of ways to improve through the second half of the season. It’s unfortunate that it’s taken us this long to do it, but it’s a step in the right direction. The car was quite good, I just made a mistake in the second round and got into the wall. I owe the Preferred Freezer guys some beers. Hopefully, we can maintain the trajectory of our weekend and get ready for a good race tomorrow.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “I’m disappointed with the qualifying result. We had a good car and had a good lap time in the first round. We moved on to the second (segment) and until the red flag, the car felt quite positive. We ran into traffic on the last lap of the session – there was only one lap to qualify after the red flag – so we didn’t make it. It’s a shame, but we will concentrate on tomorrow’s race. It will be a survival race and hopefully we will have a good car and good race tomorrow.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda):
“The final result is not our full potential, we were faster than where we ended. We advanced to Segment 2, and after the red flag (Josef) Newgarden didn’t get going up to speed in front of us, so we had cold tires on the only lap we had to make it in (to the Firestone Fast Six). I had to clutch in trying to open a gap and I still couldn’t get away from him. The tires were just too cold for the one lap and is disappointing because the UFD car had so much more in it.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Honda): “Honestly, kind of a frustrating session. If we would’ve run that lap time in the second group, we would have advanced to the top 12, but instead we’re on the ninth row. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow. I think the Firestone alternates (tires) aren’t holding up quite as long as the Firestone primaries, so that’ll definitely play into what we do strategy-wise. We’ve got to work the strategy and take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of us. We’re making the car better, but we just didn’t find as much lap time as we were hoping to find.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Andretti Autosport/Curb Honda): “Today was a big step forward from yesterday. I have to credit the team for making the right changes overnight – we were much more competitive today. I think we had a shot at the (Firestone) Fast Six, but the red flag at the end of the session only allowed us to have one lap. It’s harder for us to get fast lap times on new tires early in the stint than it seems for other teams. The (qualifying) result is unfortunate, but it’s a lot better than we were looking last night.”

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

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