TORONTO – We’ve had one first-time winner in the Verizon IndyCar Series this season (Carlos Huertas), and rookie Jack Hawksworth could well be another one in this weekend’s Honda Indy 2 in Toronto (Saturday & Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra).
First off, Hawksworth is back to full strength behind the wheel after his Pocono accident two weeks ago. He did some training this week, his first since the accident on July 5.
Secondly, if the talented 23-year-old English rookie loses either of the two Toronto races, it’ll mark his first time not winning on the streets around Exhibition Place.
Hawksworth, driver of the No. 98 Castrol Edge BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian Honda, is a perfect three-for-three thus far in Toronto in his career. He swept the pair of Pro Mazda (then Star Mazda) races in 2012 and added a third victory in Indy Lights last year. All three have come from pole position.
Rather than take the opportunity to toot his own horn, Hawksworth was modest and praised his equipment when it comes to his Toronto success.
“I’ve always had good cars, and really, that’s the big thing here,” Hawksworth told MotorSportsTalk. “It’s a technical street track and I tend to run well on street and road courses. Really we’ve just been able to convert. It’s a fun place here; there’s a lot to it, and it takes nailing the concrete patches and surfaces.”
Hawksworth also praised the nature of the 1.755-mile street course, which he said is a nice change of pace compared to some of the other street courses on the schedule.
“This place is really fun, and it’s so much different than a generic one,” he said. “Houston for example is 90 (degree) left (corner), 90 right, 90 left, 90 right, whatever.
“Here, it’s very different. It’s 90 and widens out, then has a tight corner after long straight (Turn 3), a fast (Turn) 6, then has like a road course section left, right, left. There’s so much going on here you’re trying to keep up! It’s a 59-second lap in an IndyCar… you think it should be a 2-minute one with what you’re fighting.”
While Hawksworth is a perfect three-for-three in Toronto entering the weekend, he looks to better his best result of third overall in IndyCar, set in Houston Race 2.