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IndyCar points roundup: Toronto

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When Scott Dixon and Will Power crashed together on lap one at the Honda Indy Toronto, the door was blown open for all championship contenders to make big gains on Dixon, who entered Toronto as the points leader.

While he rebounded to finish tenth, and a lap 23 caution kept title rivals Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, and Graham Rahal, from battling for the win, Dixon nonetheless lost ground in the championship hunt.

Scott Dixon was involved in a lap one crash with Will Power at the Honda Indy Toronto. Photo: IndyCar

“It was a rough day in the NTT Data car,” Dixon lamented afterward. “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.”

As a result of Dixon’s problems, his lead was cut to three points over Helio Castroneves. Simon Pagenaud remains third, but at a scant 19 points out of the lead. Josef Newgarden was the biggest mover, jumping up to fourth, only 23 markers out of the lead.

In other words, when the Verizon IndyCar series heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200, any one of the top four could leave as the championship leader.

Behind them, Will Power and Graham Rahal remain in contention and are tied for fifth, despite their race day struggles. Power dropped out after the aforementioned incident with Dixon and finished 21st, while Rahal saw an untimely caution wreck his strategy, and he could no better than ninth. But, both still sit within striking distance at 64 points out of the lead.

While neither could leave Mid-Ohio in the championship lead, they could still gain significant ground, especially given their records at Mid-Ohio. Power has five finishes inside the top five there, including three second-place runs, while Rahal has three consecutive finishes inside the top five, including a win in 2015, at his home track.

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McLaren almost back on schedule with 2018 F1 car after delay

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McLaren is almost back on schedule with its 2018 Formula 1 car development after losing two weeks due to a delay in deciding on its engine supplier, according to racing director Eric Boullier.

McLaren confirmed back in September it would be cutting ties with Honda at the end of the year after three difficult seasons, favoring a switch to Renault power units.

The decision was not taken lightly by McLaren, causing it to lose two weeks in the development of next year’s car, but Boullier confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the team is almost back on-track.

“Maybe we made the decision to change the engine manufacturer two weeks too late for our schedule, but these two weeks have almost been recovered,” Boullier said.

“Any big decisions are always difficult to take. The concept of McLaren winning with Honda was a dream for everybody, yes – it was a beautiful story.

“Today we have huge respect for them and we definitely don’t divorce with fights and screams and finger pointing. We are all very professional – and in the end it was a business decision, which they understand.

“There is a sadness that it didn’t work out like we wanted. McLaren-Honda in terms of brands was a good fit – in terms of results it didn’t work.

“That’s what it is in the end. Now we have to see that we get back to competitiveness – back to the top!”