While NASCAR ran an all-star event to kickoff Daytona 500 festivities, IndyCar drivers James Hinchcliffe, Conor Daly, and Josef Newgarden headed to Canada to attend the NBA all-star game in Toronto, Ontario. And they took to social media to share their excitement.
This was the first time an NBA all-star game was held outside of the United States, which was of particular interest to Canada’s Hinchcliffe.
As the skills contest began, Hinchliffe wondered if IndyCar should have their own all-star competition.
The responses were mixed with nearly as many fans replying to his tweet affirmatively. As those tweets rolled in, Hinchcliffe turned his attention back to basketball when the dunking competition began. It did not take long for him to recognize the skills of the NBA players. Hinchcliffe tweeted, “This dunk contest is actually insane!! I am out of words to describe this!!”
Newgarden was just as excited about attending the all-star event and added his IndyCar perspective.
“First thing I thought, catching an Uber to Air Canada Centre for NBA All-Star Saturday night, is that I’m driving through downtown Toronto near our race track. Except it’s a lot colder here today (70 degrees colder) than when the Verizon IndyCar Series races here in the Honda Indy Toronto in July, and we’re moving a lot slower on the city streets than I’m used to — about 110 mph slower since we could only go about 20 through a traffic jam,” Newgarden reported in his blog for USA Today.
The NBA all-star game was a contest between the Western conference versus the East, but Hinchliffe and Daly managed to turn the weekend into a border war by focusing on the Celebrity Game Presented by Mountain Dew. American driver Daly was behind Team USA with Hinchcliffe supporting his home team.
Hinchcliffe provided his reasons why Canada would win. Daly disagreed.
Hinchliffe was correct.
After Canada won the celebrity game on Friday night, the attention turned serious with both the West and East putting up amazing numbers. The Western conference recorded the victory with a score of 196 over 173.
As the NBA settles back into regulation play, Hinchliffe, Daly, and Newgarden await the start of the IndyCar season, which begins with the March 13th running of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.