IndyCar

IndyCar: Fast Facts for Honda Indy Toronto

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Here’s virtually everything you need to know about this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto INDYCAR race just west of downtown Toronto:

Honda Indy Toronto Fast Facts

Race weekend: Friday, July 13 – Sunday, July 15

Track: Streets of Toronto’s Exhibition Place, an 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street course

Race distance: 85 laps / 151.81 miles

Entry List: Honda Indy Toronto (PDF)

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Teams must use one set of primary and one new set of alternate tires in the race.

Twitter: @HondaIndy, @IndyCar, #IndyTO, #INDYCAR

Event website: www.HondaIndyToronto.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2017 race winner: Josef Newgarden (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet)

2017 Verizon P1 Award winner: Simon Pagenaud (No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet), 58.9124 seconds, 109.138 mph

Qualifying record: Gil de Ferran, 57.143 seconds, 110.565 mph, July 17, 1999 (Note: Simon Pagenaud set a qualifying mark of 58.9124 seconds, 109.138 mph, for the current layout in 2017.)

NBCSN television broadcasts: Qualifying, 5 p.m. ET Saturday, July 14 (same-day delay); Race, 3 p.m. ET Sunday, July 15, NBCSN/Sportsnet 360 (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Katie Hargitt, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller.

Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Anders Krohn. Jake Query and Nick Yeoman are the turn announcers with Dave Furst and Rob Howden reporting from the pits. The Verizon IndyCar Series race is broadcast live on network affiliates, Sirius 217, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app. All Verizon IndyCar Series practice and qualifying sessions are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app, with qualifying also available on Sirius 219 and XM 209.

Video streaming: All practice sessions and qualifying for the Honda Indy Toronto will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar).

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, July 13

10:40 – 11:25 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)

2:30 – 3:15 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)

Saturday, July 14

9:50 – 10:35 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #3, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)

1:55 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live); NBCSN (same-day delay, 5 p.m. ET)

Sunday, July 15

11:40 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series warm-up, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)

2:57 p.m. – Driver introductions

3:35 p.m. – Command to start engines

3:42 p.m. – Honda Indy Toronto (85 laps/151.81 miles), NBCSN/SportsNet 360 (Live)

Race notes:

  • There have been seven different winners in the 11 previous Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2018: Sebastien Bourdais (Streets of St. Petersburg), Josef Newgarden (ISM Raceway, Barber Motorsports Park and Road America), Alexander Rossi (Streets of Long Beach), Will Power (INDYCAR Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500), Scott Dixon (Raceway at Belle Isle-1 and Texas Motor Speedway), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Raceway at Belle Isle-2) and James Hinchcliffe (Iowa Speedway). Dixon’s win at Texas on June 9 gave him sole possession of third on the all-time Indy car victory list with 43 wins.
  • The Honda Indy Toronto will be the 34th Indy car race on the streets of Exhibition Place. Josef Newgarden won the race in 2017.
  • The Honda Indy Toronto will be the eighth race on a road/street course in 2018. The first seven races were won by Sebastien Bourdais (Streets of St. Petersburg), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park and Road America), Alexander Rossi (Streets of Long Beach), Will Power (INDYCAR Grand Prix), Scott Dixon (Raceway at Belle Isle-1), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Raceway at Belle Isle-2)
  • Will Power has won three times at Toronto, the most wins by an active Indy car driver at the track. Power, who won in 2007, 2010 and 2016), is among five past Toronto winners entered in this year’s race, along with Sebastien Bourdais (2004, 2014 Race 1), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2012), Scott Dixon (2013 Races 1 and 2) and Josef Newgarden (2015 and 2017). Michael Andretti has the most wins at the track with seven.
  • The Verizon IndyCar Series champion has won in Toronto in five of the last nine seasons. Dario Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden all won on the streets of Toronto before eventually claiming the championship. Franchitti won in 2009 and again in 2011. Hunter-Reay won in 2012, Dixon swept both races in 2013 and Newgarden won in 2017. Seven other drivers have claimed the Indy car championship in the same season they won at Toronto. They are Bobby Rahal (1986), Al Unser Jr. (1990), Michael Andretti (1991), Alex Zanardi (1998), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Paul Tracy (2003) and Sebastien Bourdais (2004).
  • Drivers who have won poles at Toronto entered in this year’s race are Sebastien Bourdais (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2014 Race 1), Scott Dixon (2013 Race 2 and 2016), Will Power (2011 and 2015) and Simon Pagenaud (2017). The pole sitter has won the race seven times since the first race in 1986, most recently by Bourdais in 2014 Race 1.
  • Scott Dixon has finished on the podium in three of the last nine races at Toronto. He has seven top-five finishes in 13 starts. … Sebastien Bourdais has eight top-five finishes in 13 Toronto starts. … Will Power has finished on the podium in five of his 13 Toronto starts. … Toronto-area native James Hinchcliffe has finished on the podium in the last two races at the track.
  • Seventeen drivers entered in the event have competed in Indy car races at Toronto. Tony Kanaan (15) has the most starts among the entered drivers. Eleven of those drivers have led laps at the track (Sebastien Bourdais 189, Will Power 161, Scott Dixon 151, Josef Newgarden 95, Ryan Hunter-Reay 36, Simon Pagenaud 33, Tony Kanaan 23, Graham Rahal 23, Charlie Kimball 2, Max Chilton 1 and Conor Daly 1).
  • Chip Ganassi Racing has won six times at Toronto: Michael Andretti (1994), Alex Zanardi (1998), Dario Franchitti (2009 and 2011) and Scott Dixon (2013, both races). Team Penske has four wins at the track (Paul Tracy 1993, Will Power 2010 and 2016 and Josef Newgarden 2017). Team Penske has eight pole positions at the track: Danny Sullivan (1988 and 1990), Emerson Fittipaldi (1993), Helio Castroneves (2000), Gil de Ferran (2001), Will Power (2011 and 2015) and Simon Pagenaud (2017).
  • Six rookies – including Canadian drivers Zachary Claman De Melo (Montreal) and Robert Wickens (Guelph, Ontario) – are entered. Other rookies entered are Rene Binder, Matheus Leist, Jordan King and Zach Veach.
  • Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 295th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Scott Dixon has made 235 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the second-longest streak in Indy car racing. Marco Andretti has made 211 consecutive starts, which is tied with Jimmy Vasser for the third-longest streak in Indy car racing.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Are you a racer looking for the fountain of youth? Try NHRA drag racing

Photos courtesy NHRA
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It used to be that many of the big-name race car drivers routinely raced into their 50s, most notably in NASCAR.

Richard Petty raced until he was 55. The late David Pearson was 54 when he last raced in NASCAR.

But these days, we’re seeing the majority of professional racers calling it quits in their early-to-mid 40s – like Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle and most recently, Jamie McMurray.

But that’s not the case for competitors in the National Hot Rod Association. Like fine wine, it seems that the kings of the drag strip only seem to get better and more successful with age.

To them, the “r word” is not “retire,” it’s “reaction time.”

Consider many of today’s stars in the NHRA and their respective ages:

* Funny Car legend John Force will turn 70 in May. And while he hasn’t won a championship since 2013, Force remains one of the biggest forces – no pun intended – in the sport.

Fellow Funny Car drivers still seemingly in their prime include Ron Capps (53 years old), Jack Beckman (52), Tim Wilkerson (turns 58 on Dec. 29), Cruz Pedregon (55) and Gary Densham (62).

* In Top Fuel, the winningest driver and record eight-time champ Tony Schumacher will turn 49 on Dec. 25. Those already on the other side of the 50-year-old line include Clay Millican (52), Doug Kalitta (54), Terry McMillen (64), Billy Torrence (60) and Cory McClenathan (turns 56 on Jan. 30).

Chris Karamesines

And let’s not forget the oldest active drag racer on the NHRA professional circuit (albeit part-time rather than full-time), Chicago native Chris Karamesines, who is still racing a Top Fuel dragster at 300-plus mph at the spry young age of 87 years old!

Yes, you read that right, Karamesines is 87 – but could easily pass for 67 – and he has no intention of retiring anytime soon.

* Ironically, the slower Pro Stock class is not as well-represented in the 50-and-over group as is Top Fuel and Funny Car, with only two regulars who have passed the half-century mark: four-time champ Greg Anderson (57) and Kenny Delco (65).

But that 50-and-above fraternity will add at least one other member next year when former champ Jason Line turns 50 on July 24. And five-time champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. will turn 50 in 2020.

Jerry Savoie

* Even the easy riders of Pro Stock Motorcycle have several 50-and-over competitors: Scotty Pollacheck (turns 50 on Feb. 8), 2016 champ Jerry Savoie (turns 60 on Feb. 23), Karen Stofer (54), Steve Johnson (turns 58 on Jan. 19) and Hector Arana (60).

Granted, drag racers don’t have the same grueling time spent behind the wheel. Their average run lasts from just over 3.5 seconds to maybe eight or nine seconds.

And unlike driving 400 or 500 laps or miles as in NASCAR, a full four-round race during Sunday eliminations for NHRA racers adds up to one whole mile – or less.

Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers only go a distance of 1,000 feet per run, while Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle go a full quarter-mile (1,320 feet) in their respective runs.

In a sense, hitting the 5-0 mark or higher has become somewhat of a fountain of youth for several racers.

For example, Capps won his first career Funny Car crown in 2016 at the age of 51.

The same year, Savoie won his first career PSM title at the age of 57.

And Force won his most recent Funny Car title in 2013 at the age of 64.

Force has already gone on record to say that he wants to become the first major pro champion to win a title at 70 years old – which would also become the 17th championship of his illustrious career as the winningest driver in all NHRA history.

He gets a chance toward doing just that when the 2019 NHRA season kicks off at Pomona, California, on Feb. 7-10.

Follow @JerryBonkowski