Green Flag: Honda Indy Toronto – INDYCAR

July 17, 2022 by No Comments

After missing two years due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, race day for the Honda Indy Toronto returns to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES today. The action begins at 3 p.m. (ET) on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network, with the rolling start of 25 cars expected at 3:30 p.m.

This event at Exhibition Place is one of the oldest on the sport’s schedule, with the first race won by Bobby Rahal held in 1986. Only Indianapolis Motor Speedway (1911), the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (1980), Road America (1982), WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (1983) and the streets of Long Beach, California (1984) can trace their series roots further back, and the Toronto circuit ranks fourth among these in number of series races staged (this will be the 36th).

The fans that some consider the most passionate in the series are back in masses, too. Large crowds were seen Friday and Saturday, and the promoter is expecting another terrific turnout today.

The weather is doing its part, too, with sunshine splashing down on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street circuit a few miles west of downtown.

Drivers, start your engines!

Herta Leads a Competitive Field

Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda of Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian) won the NTT P1 Award Saturday, ending a streak of nine consecutive different pole winners to start the season. That’s one short of the sport’s all-time record set in 1952.

What it says is, this field is as competitive as any in sports, and that should be on display today.

While Herta posted a monster lap in Saturday’s qualifying session – 59.2696 seconds – a total of nine drivers delivered laps under the one-minute mark. Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) was less than a tenth of a second off Herta’s pace, and Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) was only a couple blinks behind Dixon.

Dixon and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) have each won three times on the track that last hosted the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2019. Newgarden has won twice.

Simon Pagenaud won the 2019 race for Team Penske, and he will be looking to continue his run of strong finishes at this track – fifth, second and first in his last three outings – in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda of Meyer Shank Racing.

No other driver in this field has won on this track, but there certainly are many capable of doing so. Fifteen of the 25 drivers set to compete have won races in this series.

Newbies Throughout the Field

Because the Toronto event was not held in 2020 and 2021, more than half of the field has not raced an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car at this track.

Rookie David Malukas (No. 18 HMD Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD), the No. 5 qualifier, leads the group of drivers who have no such experience on this track, although the Chicago native raced on the circuit in junior formulas, including Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2019.

Toronto native Devlin DeFrancesco, who will start a career-best 12th in the No. 29 PowerTap Honda of Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport, is among the seven drivers who will make their first Toronto start of any kind today.

The other first-timers are rookie Christian Lundgaard (No. 30 HUB International Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), reigning series champion Alex Palou (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda), Scott McLaughlin (…….



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