Josef Newgarden won the 2017 Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place

Josef Newgarden takes the twin checkers to win the 2017 Honda Indy Toronto — Photo by: Joe Skibinski

Starting from 7th Place Car 2 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, won the 2017 Honda Indy Toronto. 2nd Place Car 98 Alexander Rossi, Honda, started from 8th place. 3rd place Home Town favorite Car 5 James Hinchcliffe, Honda, started from 6th place.

Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, and James Hinchcliffe hoist their trophies in Victory Circle following the Honda Indy Toronto — Photo by: Chris Jones

4th Place Car 27 Marco Andretti, Honda, started from 11th place followed by 5th place Car 1 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, started from pole. 6th Place Car 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, started from 16th place followed by 7th place Car 8 Max Chilton, Honda, started from 9th place. 8th Place Car 3 Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, started from 3rd place followed by 9th place Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, started from 2nd place. Lastly in the Top 10 was Car 9 Scott Dixon, Honda, in 10th place, started from 5th place.

The field streams down the frontstretch into Turn 1 during the Honda Indy Toronto — Photo by: Chris Owens

The race had 2 Cautions for 9 laps. 1st Caution of lap 1 for Contact: Car 9 Scott Dixon, Honda and Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet in Turn 3. 2nd Caution of lap 23 for Contact: Car 10 Tony Kanaan, Honda in Turn 1.

Josef Newgarden leads the field into Turn 1 during the Honda Indy Toronto — Photo by: Joe Skibinski

The race had 4 Lead changes among 4 drivers. Lap Leaders: Castroneves 1-24, Newgarden 25-53, Chilton 54, Pagenaud 55-56, Newgarden 57-85.Josef Newgarden comes in for tires and fuel on pit lane during the Honda Indy Toronto — Photo by: Chris Jones

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.

Simon Pagenaud leads the field down the frontstretch to start the Honda Indy Toronto — Photo by: Chris Jones

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.

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.

James Hinchcliffe is introduced on stage after his 3rd Place finish in the Honda Indy Toronto — Photo by: Chris Jones

“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.”

Honda Indy Toronto race results

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, car, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (7) Car 2 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 85, Running
2. (8) Car 98 Alexander Rossi, Honda, 85, Running
3. (6) Car 5 James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 85, Running
4. (11) Car 27 Marco Andretti, Honda, 85, Running
5. (1) Car 1 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 85, Running
6. (16) Car 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 85, Running
7. (9) Car 8 Max Chilton, Honda, 85, Running
8. (3) Car 3 Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 85, Running
9. (2) Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, 85, Running
10. (5) Car 9 Scott Dixon, Honda, 85, Running
11. (20) Car 7 Sebastian Saavedra, Honda, 85, Running
12. (17) Car 83 Charlie Kimball, Honda, 85, Running
13. (12) Car 21 JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 85, Running
14. (21) Car 18 Esteban Gutierrez, Honda, 85, Running
15. (19) Car 14 Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 85, Running
16. (10) Car 26 Takuma Sato, Honda, 85, Running
17. (18) Car 4 Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 85, Running
18. (13) Car 20 Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 84, Running
19. (14) Car 10 Tony Kanaan, Honda, 83, Running
20. (15) Car 19 Ed Jones, Honda, 75, Mechanical
21. (4) Car 12 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
astest Lap: 106.741 mph (60.2357 seconds) on Lap 55 by 1 – Simon Pagenaud
Fastest Leader Lap: 106.741 mph (60.2357 seconds) on Lap 55 by 1 – Simon Pagenaud
Verizon P1 Award: Simon Pagenaud (58.9124 seconds, 109.138 mph)
Legend: R = Sunoco Rookie of the Year Candidate; All cars use fourth-generation Verizon IndyCar Series Chassis (IR-12) with Chevrolet or Honda aerodynamic bodywork and Firestone tires

The race had 2 Cautions for 9 laps. The race had 4 Lead changes among 4 drivers.

Next Race: July 30 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Lexington, OH

IndyCar
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Graphics & Photos Courtesy of Indycar

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