For the two Canadians in this year’s Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader, there’s been some success but not the ultimate result in front of their home fans.
Alex Tagliani of Lachenaie, Quebec, has a fairly respectable record in CART, Champ Car and now the IZOD IndyCar Series around Exhibition Place. He has two podiums (second in 2001, third in 2005) and nine top-10 finishes in 12 prior Toronto starts.
James Hinchcliffe, of Oakville, Ontario, meanwhile has been snake bit in his two prior Toronto starts. He ended just 14th in his rookie start in 2011 and retired early with engine issues last year.
Both have the built in, added pressure that comes with racing in their home country. Tagliani more than “Hinch” could use a decent result, although the way Hinchcliffe’s bipolar season has gone you may as well pencil him in for at least one win.
Since a 10th-place finish in the season opener at St. Petersburg, a race Hinchcliffe won, Tagliani has yet to make it back to the top 10 in the No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda – albeit not for a lack of effort. A myriad of bad luck has plagued his season and Tagliani enters just 22nd in the points standings.
Meanwhile, Hinchcliffe has alternated between winning and last place on several occasions in the No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport. He is the only three-time winner in 2013, but that’s been negatively countered by a 24th and two 26th place finishes. He’s fifth in points, and a podium or win would send the crowd wild.
Either way, with two races, there’s a chance both of the locals could have their day on top this weekend.
Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.