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Simon Pagenaud wins pole position for Honda Indy Toronto

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Simon Pagenaud won the pole position for the Honda Indy Toronto Saturday afternoon with an elapsed time of 58.4293 seconds around the 11-Turn, 1.786-mile Exhibition Place street course.

The pole is the second of the season for Pagenaud, who has been fast all weekend. Pagenaud won the Indianapolis 500 from the pole in May.

“That was a lot of fun.” Pagenaud told NBC Sports. “[We] extracted the best out of it. This the best you can feel in racing, when you achieve what you expect.”

Scott Dixon will start next to Pagenaud in the front row, qualifying second with an elapsed time of 58.5948 seconds.

Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi qualified third and fourth, respectively, while Josef Newgarden and Ed Jones qualified fifth and sixth.

Marco Andretti, Sebastian Bourdais , Spencer Pigot and Takuma Sato qualified seventh through 10th, while a few notable drivers will start Sunday’s race from further down the starting grid than they’d like.

Local favorite James Hinchcliffe, who usually qualifies well at Toronto, qualified a disappointing 14th out of 22 entries after being eliminated in the first round of the session.

“I definitely think we lost the group lottery on that one,” Hinchcliffe told NBC Sports. “I think group 1 was a little less stacked than group 2, but at the end of the day, you gotta be faster than everybody.

“Disappointed to not be in the top half of the field, but I’m pretty confident we’re quicker than a couple of cars in front of us certainly.”

Will Power did not fare any better in qualifications, as the Aussie will start 15th Sunday afternoon after failing to advance from round 1 for the first time since 2015.

“I’ve had a bit of a rough weekend as far as setup,” Power said. “Just didn’t get it. Had some bad shifts unfortunately on the lap that probably would have bumped us through. Not good enough man, not good enough”.

Live coverage of the Honda Indy Toronto begins tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for full qualifying results

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Kyle Busch happy with first stint: ‘Put me in the car, there’s excitement!’

AP Photo/Terry Renna
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Rolex 24 at Daytona debut of the “KB Show” was cut short by a strategy maneuver but still delivered drama and a positive result.

Kyle Busch got the No. 14 RCF GT3 Lexus back on the lead lap and back in contention for a GTD victory at Daytona International Speedway.

“It was good,” Kyle Busch said with a broad smile after a 42-minute stint. “Just, uh, shit, put me in the car, and there’s excitement around! Drove all my way back to the lead lap and everything.

“Overall, we’ve had a good experience and hell I only got one stint in, so I’m ready for more. Sign me up, coach!”

The two-time Cup champion was expected to drive for at least 90 minutes, but the first full-course caution of the race (with 19 hours and 16 minutes remaining) caused AIM Vasser Sullivan to change up its drive plan. Busch was called to the pits in favor of Parker Chase.

“With all the strategy and the way the wave-bys work here, it’s quite different than what we’re accustomed to (in NASCAR),” said Busch, who likely will drive longer now later in the race. “That wasn’t bad. To get ourselves back on the lead lap and back to a position where we can start scrapping again hopefully is what we needed.

“So I got one stint in, but I’m trying to save myself and (teammate) Jack (Hawksworth) for a little later.”

Busch climbed into the car shortly after 6 p.m. as the last of the No. 14’s four drivers. He complained a few times on his radio about traffic, which he said was his biggest challenge.

“There were a couple of instances we ran down a smaller car, and (it was) just mirror driving in front of us,” he said. “That was pretty bad. We lost probably 2 seconds on that. Overall, I guess that’s road racing.

The yellow flag was exactly what Busch’s team needed after being forced to start from the rear of the field when it missed qualifying because of an engine change. Hawksworth, who started the race, said the car was “quick in the wrong places and slow in the right places” after struggling with handling and speed in the first stint.

“I don’t feel we’re out of it,” Hawksworth said. “It’s a very long race. Still early days. We need to work on having speed for the end of the race. The position right now doesn’t really make any difference. We’ll need to find some performance at the end of the race to fight for the win.”