TORONTO – Welcome back, Sebastien Bourdais.
The “bespectacled badass” turned in a drive Sunday in the first of the Honda Indy 2 in Toronto that was reminiscent of his glory years in Champ Car, when he won 31 races and four consecutive championships for Newman/Haas Racing from 2004 to 2007.
Driving the No. 11 Hydroxycut KVSH Racing Chevrolet, Bourdais won his first race since Mexico City, 2007 after leading a majority of Sunday’s first 65-lap race from pole position. The win occurs in Bourdais’ sponsor’s near home city, as Hydroxycut is based in the Toronto suburb of Oakville, Ontario.
“This is really sweet, man. That one didn’t come easy,” Bourdais told IMS Radio Network’s Nick Yeoman in victory lane. “We had to come and wait for a long time. The stars aligned. I was not expecting it, I know how things can go. Things played out in the end.
“Last year we were second and third, so we had to win this one.”
The win is KV Racing’s first since the 2013 Indianapolis 500 with Tony Kanaan and additionally the team’s first podium finish as well. Bourdais is the ninth different winner and 18th different podium finisher this season; KV’s first podium of the year means only A.J. Foyt Enterprises, of full-time teams, has yet to record a top-three finish in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Brazilians Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan finished second and third for Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing, respectively. Castroneves will extend his points lead while Kanaan’s race featured contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay toward the end of the race, exiting Turn 3.
Simon Pagenaud rebounded from early contact with Luca Filippi to finish fourth; Pagenaud will gain points on Will Power in the championship race as well, as the Australian finished ninth. Toronto double winner in 2013, Scott Dixon, finished fifth.
This afternoon’s second race from Toronto sees coverage begin at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra, while the green flag time is set for 4:15 p.m. ET.