Rest of Toronto’s Sunday top 10 post under-the-radar, but successful days

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A few news and notes on the days of those who finished in fourth through 10th in the Honda Indy Toronto second race of the IZOD IndyCar Series doubleheader weekend are below:

  • Fourth-placed Dario Franchitti recovered from opening lap contact with Will Power going into Turn 3 and an early pit stop after the first lap. He switched from Firestone red alternate tires onto blacks, which he was able to run the remainder of the day. The first caution on Lap 65 was a godsend for him, as he could afford to make his final stop of the day and not lose track position.
  • Fifth-placed E.J. Viso was best of the four-car Andretti Autosport quartet, ending a rough weekend for that group. It’s Viso’s first top-five finish on a road or street course in 2013, and second in total this year.
  • Charlie Kimball wasn’t able to match his runner-up finish scored at Toronto last year, or his runner-up at Pocono last weekend, but a solid, consistent 15thh to sixth run kept him on the verge of the top 10 in points. He’s 11th, and just one point behind Will Power at race end (273-272).
  • Mike Conway surged from 23rd on the grid to 13th just in the opening three or four laps, and enjoyed a more casual climb from there to end in seventh for the second day running for Dale Coyne Racing. Conway, who has started only five IndyCar races all season, has just three fewer points than Sebastian Saavedra of Dragon Racing, who’s run all 12…
  • Justin Wilson wasn’t a factor although he tended to run longer on fuel stints. Respectable if unspectacular, eighth for Coyne’s lone full season driver keeps him ninth in the standings.
  • Marco Andretti ended a relatively anonymous ninth, but still improved eight spots from a tough grid position of 17th. At 70 points back of points leader Helio Castroneves, he needs a late surge and some wins to stay in title contention.
  • Last in the top 10 but certainly not least, a needed, needed 10th place for Alex Tagliani and the Barracuda Racing/Bryan Herta Autosport team. Tagliani started eighth and avoided the pitfalls or poor luck that have often plagued his season. It’s hardly a monumental result, but here’s hoping that his and the team’s first top-10 finish since the St. Petersburg season opener can be the momentum kick for the rest of 2013.

MRTI: Lucas Oil Raceway Recap

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Friday marked Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, but there was also plenty of activity over in Brownsburg, Indiana at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Friday night’s Carb Night Classic featured the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in their first oval events of the year: the Freedom 75 (USF2000) and the Freedom 90 (Pro Mazda).

Both races saw the points leaders in their respective series dominate, further asserting their championship prowess, and taking their first oval victories in the process.

Recaps of both races are below.

Pro Mazda: Thompson Holds Off Cunha for First Oval Win

The Freedom 90 saw Parker Thompson appear to be almost on cruise control for much of the race, as the Exclusive Autosport driver immediately jumped into the lead off the initial start and he began rocketing away from the field.

Behind him, a pair of Juncos Racing cars emerged in second and third, with Carlos Cunha ahead of Robert Megennis in that battle.

However, Thompson’s initial lead was wiped out following a Lap 46 crash involving David Malukas and Harrison Scott. The pair had been engaged in an intense battle for fourth, but came together in Turn 4, sending Scott spinning into the outside wall while Malukas eventually came to a stop alongside the front straightaway wall.

Thompson again pulled away when racing resumed on Lap 55, while Cunha immediately gave chase, passing the lapped car of Lodovico Laurini as he tried to keep Thompson in his sights.

Lapped traffic continued to play a key role in the closing stages, with Thompson getting briefly held up behind Nikita Lastochkin and Oliver Askew, allowing Cunha to close onto his gearbox in the final laps.

However, Thompson kept Cunha at bay to take the win, his third of the Pro Mazda season. Megennis drove a solid race to finish third, while Rinus VeeKay put three Juncos cars in the top five by finishing fourth. Team Pelfrey’s Sting Ray Robb finished fifth.

Thompson’s win sees him extend his points lead over VeeKay to 36, with Cunha only two points further back in third.

USF2000: Kirkwood Rolls to Victory in Oval Debut

Kyle Kirkwood was untouchable at Lucas Oil Raceway. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

If his first career oval proved a challenge for Cape Motorsports’ Kyle Kirkwood, he certainly did not show it. Starting on the pole, Kirkwood rocketed away into the lead and was never challenged.

Behind him, however, his closest title rival faltered. Alex Baron, who charged from eighth to third on Lap 1, crashed out while working his way around the lapped car of Russ McDonough. Baron was visibly upset and frustrated while walking along the pit lane after climbing out of the No. 29 Swan-RJB Motorsports Tatuus USF-17.

Racing only briefly returned to green on Lap 40 before Zach Holden rode up and over the back of Julian van der Watt, with both cars coming to a stop on the back straightaway.

A restart on Lap 50 again saw Kirkwood pull away, while Kaylen Frederick worked his way up to second around Rasmus Lindh and Lucas Kohl.

The race came to a close only eight laps later – the cautions brought a 30-minute time limit into play, preventing them from completing the originally planned 75-lap race.

In the end, no one got close to Kirkwood, who took a win on his oval debut, his third win of the 2018 season. Frederick came home second for his first podium of the year, and his first with Pabst Racing Services, while Rasmus Lindh rounded out the podium in third. Kohl and Jose Sierra completed the top five in fourth and fifth.

Kirkwood’s win combined with Baron’s crash to give Kirkwood a championship lead of 44 points. Sierra remains third, one point ahead of Igor Fraga.

Both series are back in action for double-headers at Road America on June 23-24.

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