With last week’s victory, Alexander Rossi has clawed his way to within seven points of Josef Newgarden as the series heads into Round 11 of the NTT IndyCar Series. Based on their performance so far on street and road courses this season, one would have to give good odds that a change could change at the end of the Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place.
Looking back on the past two runnings of this race, however, that might not be as simple as it would appear.
Here are some of the storylines to watch this Sunday:
- Based on recent performance, Rossi can easily lay claim to being the hottest driver on the circuit. The first 10 rounds for the Andretti Autosport hot shoe have ended outside the top 10 only twice this year and he has a current five-race, top-five streak to his credit.
- The top two in the standings hold a considerable lead over the field with a 61-point advantage for Newgarden over third-place Simon Pagenaud. That means the leaders need only keep their principle rival in sight – and it appears Newgarden and Rossi have been well-matched at Toronto over the past two seasons. In 2017 Newgarden won this race with Rossi on his heels in second. Last year, Rossi edged Newgarden by one spot as they struggled to finish eighth and ninth.
- Still looking for his first top-five of the season, James Hinchliffe could finally finish in the low single digits this week. He enters Toronto with a current three-race streak of top-fives that is unmatched. Earlier this year, his best result came on another temporary circuit of St Petersburg; he backed that up with another sixth on the permanent road course of Barber Motorsports Park.
- With three sub-15th-place finishes in his last five starts, Scott Dixon should rebound this week. Six of eight attempts on street and road courses have ended in top-five finishes including his victory in the second race at Belle Isle. He won last year’s edition of this race, which is past of an eight-race streak of top-10s.
- If Pagenaud is going to make up any ground on the points leaders, this is a good week to do so. Pagenaud is one of four active drivers (along with Dixon, Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti) with at least a three-race streak of top-10s. He finished ninth in 2016, fifth in 2017 and second last year.