Josef Newgarden leads at halfway point in Toronto

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Josef Newgarden currently leads the way at the halfway point of the Honda Indy Toronto race, currently live on NBCSN and Live Extra.

Leading away from pole position, Will Power managed to establish a sizeable lead over teammate Simon Pagenaud in the early stages of the race before the entire field was forced to pit for slick tires as a dry line began to emerge on the wet track.

As a result, Pagenaud was able to close up on Power for the lead over the race, but could not make a pass before the first full course caution of the race was thrown on lap 29 when James Jakes hit the wall and stalled his car.

Whilst most of the drivers opted to pit, Helio Castroneves stayed out to move to the head of the field, whilst both Josef Newgarden and Carlos Munoz were able to stop just before the pit lane was shut, launching themselves up into second and third place respectively when the majority of the runners came in.

Dale Coyne Racing’s Rodolfo Gonzalez has now found himself among the fight at the front by following Castroneves’ strategy and not pitting, with Power passing the Venezuelan and using him as a road block for Pagenaud and Sebastien Bourdais behind.

A second full course caution was called just a few laps later due to debris on track, prompting Castroneves and Gonzalez to pit, handing the lead to Newgarden at the front.

With half of the race still remaining, though, the battle for the race win is still far too close to call as Newgarden, Munoz, Power, Pagenaud and Bourdais all vie for victory in Toronto.

You can watch the action now on NBCSN and Live Extra. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”