Honda Indy Toronto

Photo: IndyCar

Honda Canada extends Toronto Indy sponsorship through 2020

Leave a comment

The Honda Indy Toronto will stay as such and a part of the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar through 2020, as Honda Canada announced a sponsorship extension for the next few years.

The full release with all the details is below.

Honda Indy Toronto along with its owners and operators, Green Savoree Racing Promotions, is proud to announce the extension of its sponsorship agreement with Honda Canada Inc. for the annual event at Exhibition Place through 2020.

Honda Canada has been the title sponsor of the race since 2009 when Green Savoree Racing Promotions relaunched the event with the Verizon IndyCar series as the feature. The 2018 Honda Indy Toronto will be a special event with Honda’s 10th year of partnership.

“Honda’s DNA is built on racing – a heritage started by our founder Mr. Honda – which we’ve celebrated and are very proud of for nearly 60 years. Honda and IndyCar have enjoyed a fantastic partnership over the last nine years bringing racing excitement to the streets of Toronto every July,” said Dave Gardner, President & CEO of Honda Canada Inc.

Gardner continued, “Our organizations share a passion for racing and the ability to support our community with the help of our charitable partners. With the support of Honda drivers and the enthusiastic race fans of Toronto, Honda is thrilled to extend our partnership for another three years.”

Honda Canada’s has a significant brand presence on site via signage on and off the race track and vehicle displays. From Honda World featuring the Junior Red Riders program to Honda SpeedZone this year showcasing the NHL® Centennial Fan Arena, its attractions have brought many interactive features to festival-goers attending the event.

“Honda Canada’s commitment has been tremendous. We have really focused the last few years on creating an experience appealing to families, and Honda has been phenomenal in helping us accomplish this ambition,” said Jeff Atkinson, President of Honda Indy Toronto. “We can’t wait to get started on planning for next year’s event with our great partners at Honda Canada on board for another three years.”

IndyCar points roundup: Toronto

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

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.

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Early yellow bites Pagenaud, Castroneves, Rahal in Toronto

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

The Honda Indy Toronto showed promise for Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, and Graham Rahal. Castroneves rocketed into the lead with a bold, three-wide move on the inside entering turn one as the race started, and he led teammate Pagenaud and Rahal through the opening stint.

All told, the three were beginning to draw away from the field as the first round of pit stops began, but a Lap 23 caution for Tony Kanaan, who overshot turn one and nosed into the tire barrier, put Castroneves, Pagenaud, and Rahal behind the eight ball.

With several drivers having stopped before the caution flew, the former lead trio restarted outside the top ten on Lap 26, with Castroneves running the highest in 14th. From there, they played catch-up as best as they could.

In the end, all three made it back into the top 10, with Pagenaud finishing fifth, Castroneves eighth, and Rahal ninth. But, all three were disappointed to miss out on chances to win.

Pagenaud masked his disappointment in acknowledging that the race win went to fellow Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden.

“We managed to fight back on the (primary black tires). The car was phenomenal. Such a shame we got caught out by the yellow. But glad we kept (the win) in the family,” he said to NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis regarding his comeback to fifth and Newgarden’s triumph.

Castroneves, too, remained upbeat post-race. “When Roger (Penske) called me to pit I was already off Turn 10 and I couldn’t come in. It’s a shame that it came out that way but at least one of our guys ended up winning the race. Our Hitachi Chevy was really strong and we keep collecting points and getting closer in the championship,” he told Beekhuis.

Rahal was somewhat more vocal in his frustration.

“I got the call after we passed pit in. Newgarden was just lucky because he was falling off the train of the three of us (Castroneves, Pagenaud and Rahal). He was 2.5 seconds behind us, or just enough to get the call. When (my team) 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,” Rahal lamented.

Graham Rahal saw a chance to battle for a win go by the wayside after an untimely caution. Photo: IndyCar

Rahal added that he missed an opportunity to gain a lot points in the championship as well, due to a lap one crash involving Scott Dixon and Will Power.

“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 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,” he finished.

Still, all three drivers remain in championship contention. Castroneves sits in second, only three points behind Dixon, with Pagenaud 19 points out of the lead in third. Rahal sits tied for fifth with Will Power, 64 points behind Dixon.

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Hinchcliffe podium anchors strong runs for Canadian drivers in Toronto

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe has endured a tough run of races since his win at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. In the nine races since then, he has only had three finishes inside the top 10, with two crashes (Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway) and an engine failure (Detroit Race 2) featured in that stretch, in a season that became somewhat defined by bad luck.

However, the Honda Indy Toronto brought about a welcome change, with Hinchcliffe qualifying sixth and then catching a lucky break when he pitted right before a caution flew for Tony Kanaan nosing into the turn 1 tire barriers.

From there, Hinchcliffe cycled back into the top five, where he stayed for the rest of the race to finish third, his second consecutive podium finish in his home race.

James Hinchcliffe has scored back-to-back podiums in Toronto. Photo: IndyCar

“The yellow just came at the right time but we had the pace at the end there,” Hinchcliffe told NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis afterward. “We were catching Alex and Josef 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.”

What’s more, Hinchcliffe’s podium completes a strong weekend for Canadian drivers across the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires.

Red Deer, Alberta native Parker Thompson won both races in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda for a Canadian team, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Exclusive Autosport, while Montreal, Quebec native Zachary Claman de Melo finished second and third in his outings in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.

Combined, the results of Hinchcliffe, Thompson, and Claman de Melo made it five podiums in five open-wheel races at Toronto, with a Canadian driver on the podium in every race.

“It’s great to get two podiums here in Toronto,” said Claman de Melo following his third-place finish in Race 2. “I’ve raced karts here since I was 8 years old and it’s like my second home. I’ve hit my rhythm, so things are starting to really come together for us now. The speed has always been there but we’re qualifying toward the front now, which makes the racing a lot easier.”

Thompson, meanwhile, was beyond elated to sweep both races in USF2000. “I’m surprised I still have a voice! What a feeling, to get two in ‘TO’ in front of the Canadian fans! I’d say this is unbelievable, but it’s passed that now and into its own new realm,” he revealed in Victory Lane.

For Hinchcliffe, the third-place finish puts him back in the top 10 in the championship, two points ahead of 11th-place Max Chilton.

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Lap 1 crash in Toronto takes out Dixon, Power (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

A chaotic start to the Honda Indy Toronto saw championship contenders Will Power and Scott Dixon come together on lap one. Power darted outside to avoid Dixon entering turn three after Dixon appeared to go sideways. Power then bounced off the wall and back into the left rear of Dixon.

The incident broke the front wing and left front suspension on Power’s car, while Dixon suffered brake damage and a punctured tire on the left rear corner.

Dixon, the championship leader by eight points over Castroneves entering the weekend, pitted for repairs and rejoined the fight, but was quickly issued a penalty after the No. 9 NTT Data team did more work than was allowed in the closed pits.

Still, Dixon rejoined the fight without losing a lap, while Power’s No. 12 Verizon Penske team pushed his car behind the wall for repairs.

Follow Kyle Lavigne.