What to watch for: IndyCar Toronto Race 2 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

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DIXON AIMS FOR THE SWEEP

With his second victory in a row yesterday, Scott Dixon has turned the IZOD IndyCar Series championship into a three-horse race. He’s charged to within 44 points of leader Helio Castroneves, and he’ll be aiming for the doubleheader sweep today from pole position – which could help him stay ahead of a potentially chaotic standing start. Dixon was second-fastest in the warmup, so he definitely has the pace to pull off another Toronto win. If he can do it, he’ll also come away with a $100,000 bonus for taking both doubleheader races this weekend.

RHR UNDER PRESSURE

One of those title combatants, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, has started to lose touch with Castroneves thanks to problems in the last two races. Yesterday in Race 1, electrical issues caused him to stall on pit exit twice and he also went into the Turn 3 tires late in the race while trying to pass teammate E.J. Viso. With Castroneves continuing to log consistent results ahead of him and Dixon making his way into the title picture, RHR needs a good result this afternoon to stop the bleeding. He’ll go off from Row 2 alongside Castroneves and right behind pole sitter Dixon.

STANDING START – TAKE 2

The highly anticipated IndyCar debut of standing starts failed to go off yesterday as Josef Newgarden’s machine stalled while the field was gridded up on the main straight. Instead, Race 1 began with a traditional rolling start, triggering a chorus of boos from those in attendance. Fortunately, IndyCar made the right call for the fans at the track and at home, and they’ll give it another shot today. For the series’ sake, let’s hope it goes off this time…

RETURN OF MUNOZ

With Ryan Briscoe sustaining a broken wrist in an incident during yesterday’s race, Panther Racing has called in Firestone Indy Lights championship leader Carlos Munoz to take over the No. 4 Chevrolet for the second event of the Toronto weekend. Munoz’s impressive runner-up performance at the Indianapolis 500 made us wonder when he’d get another shot with the big cars, and while it’s not ideal that he received it through another driver’s injury, it’ll be interesting to see whether he’ll show patience or be aggressive today in his second career IndyCar start.

Watch today’s Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto online and on your mobile device.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.

Results are below. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama rolls off at 3:00 p.m. ET.