Dixon wins race No. 1 in Toronto
After winning on the superspeedway last weekend at Pocono, Dixon took his second straight win, his first ever in Toronto.
Dario Franchitti came home third but was issued a 20-second penalty for blocking, which elevated Marco Andretti up to third. Franchitti, who earned the Verizon P1 Award in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, was informed while standing on the podium that he was assessed a 25-second blocking penalty on the final lap that dropped him to 13th.
After the race, INDYCAR officials met with Franchitti and Target Chip Ganassi Racing team members to further review the blocking penalty issued on the final lap. The team presented car data showing steering trace and braking points from the Lap 85 incident with the No. 12 car driven by Will Power. The group also viewed additional video. Upon further review, INDYCAR reinstated Franchitti to his original third-place finishing position.
Helio Castroneves, the championship points front-runner entering the 12th event of the season, increased his lead from 23 points to 39 with a sixth-place finish in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. His closest pursuer, Ryan Hunter-Reay, finished 18th in the No. 1 DHL Chevrolet. Hunter-Reay encountered a string of problems, including stalling twice leaving his pit box and making contact with the Turn 3 tire barrier on Lap 79.
The fans were robbed of a double wide restart at the end on the 1.7-mile street circuit, but in the drivers meeting this morning, utilizing single file restarts in the closing laps was discussed due to the large number of marbles and limited laps to sweep them to help the race finish under green.
"Tom's coming with basically a fresh mindset â€“ just was not afraid to do a lot of changes,â€ť said Bourdais. â€śFor the first time, we got a fast car. Still got a couple of changes to make to get it right, but it's definitely the best we've had it so far.â€ť
It was the first win at Toronto for Dixon, second win of the season, and his 31st career Indy car win. He now ties Bourdais, Tracy and Franchitti for seventh on the all-time Indy car win list.
This is Bourdaisâ€™ first podium finish since the Mexico City Champ Car race in 2007. In between he raced in F1 and sports cars.
In the IZOD IndyCar Series last doubleheader race in Detroit in June, Conway was able to win the first race and finish third in the second. This time around he was forced to start from almost the rear of the field, but he didnâ€™t disappoint the crowd as he showed them why he is a force to be reckoned with in the series this year.
The race was certainly controversial. It started with the fans booing IndyCar when they aborted the standing start because Newgarden's Honda stalled and did not give it a second try, instead reverting to a rolling start immediately.
The first standing start in IZOD IndyCar Series history was aborted when the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car driven by Josef Newgarden developed an engine sensor malfunction before all the cars were gridded, forcing the implementation of a rolling start. The 24 drivers will try a standing start again in Race 2. Dixon will be joined on the front row by Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Franchitti.
Other controversy involved blocking on the backstraight going into Turn 3 when Franchitti was penalized 25-seconds for blocking Will Power and lost his third place podium position.
On the next to last restart Scott Dixon thought Sebastien Bourdais had jumped the start but received no penalty. Bourdais said he went when he saw the green and Dixon felt he should not have gone when he saw the green because he as the leader should go first, i.e. it is his decision as the leader whether to go immediately when the flag drops, or to wait.
The other controversy came when drivers were running over the curbs in turn 5 with all four wheels and making passes. Some drivers felt that should not be allowed.
SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
7 a.m. Garages open
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): â€śWe didnâ€™t have quite enough for Dixie. After everything we went through, it feels like a win. I want to thank these guys for sticking with me. Itâ€™s been a rough ride so far, so hopefully we can turn it around.â€ť (About his thoughts while leading late in the race): â€śWhatâ€™s going to happen? I was so stressed out.â€ť
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): (About last-lap contact with Will Power): â€śI was defending. Itâ€™s always someone elseâ€™s fault with Will. I went to the outside, and he went to the inside when there was only a half a car length.â€ť
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): â€śMe and Dario just donâ€™t like Turn 3. I feel bad for the Verizon crew.â€ť
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoRapid FlexTouch Honda): "I feel badly for the No. 83 NovoRapid FlexTouch team today. We had a really good car; we just got caught up in other people's wrecks. It's the first time we haven't seen the checkered flag all year, which is a pretty good run. The car was great and we have to make the most of it here, but we learned a lot. I think we can make the car better for tomorrow, and I think for tomorrow's race we have every chance of moving forward again."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet): "An eventful race. Back and forth. Back and forth. We had a little bit of problem on the pit stop, and I got shuffled back on the restart. It's was a good race. Top-five is never bad."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet) (cont.): "It was a tough race. We were running with the leaders, then had a slow first pit stop that shuffled us back a few places. We battled back. Then I got caught on the inside during a restart and lost a couple of spots. We kept fighting and came away with a top-five finish, so I have to be happy about that especially with this being a home race for my sponsor Hydroxycut."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda): "It was unfortunate because the Barracuda Racing team was running well, and we were fighting for a top-10 finish. I had a little dice with (Simon) Pagenaud in Turn 1. I didn't want to go on the outside, but he turned and brought me all the way to the inside wall. I didn't want to tap the wall, but he just hit my front tire and got me into a spin. It was one of those race incidents that would've been better to avoid. It cost us a top-10 in the race."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): "It was a good recovery to where we were, starting way in the back. It was kind of a mess of a race; we stalled it in the pits once, and we were really struggling at the beginning of the race and still came out 10th. It was a big surprise, really, because I didn't think we would be even close to that. But toward the end, we were pretty quick, so that was good. The car started to get there, so we might only need to tweak it just a bit for tomorrow in order to be a little better right away. Because we're going to be starting closer to the front, it's even more important to have the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car dialed in from the start. We'll see tomorrow, but I think it should be fun."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "It was a good race as we had good pace today. It was a bummer at the end. The Fuzzy's guys did a great job in the pits. We were in position for a top-nine today. Then on the restart with 15 to go, Hinch checked up in Turn 1, and I checked up, too, not to take him out. I didn't have anywhere to go. I was able to check up enough to clip his rear bumper. It also broke my right-front wing. Then our car just didn't turn like before. I was just hanging on since we lost the balance of the car. It's disappointing to only get 13th today. I think we could have easily been in the top-nine. I had the pace to be in the top-nine. There are things to be happy about because the pace was better and the performance was better than the finish shows. Man, it would be nice to get a result on one of the street circuits."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): "It was a dog fight out there today. This place is so tough, and this series is so competitive. To start 13th and pick up a couple spots to finish eighth in the GoDaddy car, I'm happy with that. We weren't the quickest car out there, by any means, but we fought through a couple that were thrown at us. We got hit on that second-to-last restart. The guys were great in the pits, the strategy was good, and the good news is we have another chance to try tomorrow, get the car a little better and see what we can do. Top 10. Thanks to the fans for all their support. It was awesome out there today. I'm upset we couldn't do the standing starts. I was looking forward to that, but maybe another day."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): "Not an ideal day. We had two stalls in the pit lane and then were making some moves, making our way up on track, and then racing with E.J. (Viso) there I just got held down in the marbles on the inside and collected all that stuff on my tires. I came down into (Turn) 3 and locked up the right side. A frustrating afternoon, but I hope we can regroup overnight and improve on the car. I didn't feel confident at all under braking today and had some issues with it. The four cars, we'll put our heads together and hopefully come out a better team tomorrow."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Citgo Chevrolet): "Well, it was definitely a very tough race. I think we did a very good job in the first half of the race. We had a good strategy and very good pace. Unfortunately, we had a bad (pit) stop that put us behind a pack of cars that became very difficult to pass them and stay with the front pack, and it seemed we lost everything then. The very last part of the race, I had a very slight touch in Turn 1 with (Alex) Tagliani and bent the rear left wishbone. I needed to finish the race like that, losing a few positions to save the car for tomorrow."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "What a day! I stalled the car at the start of the race on the attempted standing start, and I was forced to start from the back. We raced our way back up through the field, and things were looking great. Then I came up behind the No. 83 car of Charlie Kimball and I went to pass him, and I didn't realize he was using the short cut in Turn 5. I was edging alongside of him, and then he started turning left. I never saw it coming since that isn't the racetrack. There was a car there, so I don't know why he would do that. We managed to recover, but then I was penalized a drive-through for that incident. That really hurt us. We worked our way back for a P10 finish, but it's a shame since we had a top-five car today. We will see what we can do tomorrow."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "I think we could have had a good run today because the car was fast. I was making up several positions in the beginning, and we had a great strategy. Unfortunately I had contact with another driver when we were running side by side after Turn 3, and he just didn't give me enough room. I tried to back off but ended up getting driven right into the wall. It's a shame that it happened because we ran great lap times after that, but we were too far behind. The good news is that our VisitFlorida.com car is strong, and I'm hoping we can bring home a result tomorrow in Race 2 that shows that."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "For the conditions that we are dealing with this weekend, ninth place is a good result. We have a good car, but we can't extract anything out of it because we're having so much trouble with the brakes. The team is doing a great job; we just need to overcome this issue. We'll take a look at it all again tonight and do everything in our power to come back stronger tomorrow. It's frustrating because I don't feel like I can attack on the track right now like I typically do. Ninth is great considering the situation, and I'm very happy that Honda got another victory. I'm hoping I can bring the HP car on top with them tomorrow."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 18 Sonny's Honda): "Tough race. We improved on things today, and think there are a few more things we can pick up in the warm-up tomorrow. I was happy with a P6 finish today, and the No. 18 Sonny's Bar-B-Q team did a great job today. We were able to salvage some points, which was a good thing today. It will be tough starting at the back of the field in Sunday's race, but I'm confident we can pull out another top-10 for Dale Coyne Racing."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "We haven't had the smoothest weekend so far, but we've got another day and another race that we need to put full focus on. The good news after this is that we have a fast race car. We just weren't able to show that today. I think we are plenty capable of coming home at the end of the day tomorrow with great points and finishing on a high note, so that's what we are all focused on doing."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): "Unfortunately I saw in my mirror that Newgarden had stalled, and I was thinking 'There goes that.' I was kind of excited about the start; I thought that it would be fun, but then again, I also wasn't all that disappointed. I know the fans will be, but to be honest, IndyCar racing isn't Formula One - it's not about the standing starts. And I'm not sure we need them. Tradition in this sport goes back 100 years. My start was good; I think I passed four guys. I got by Sato and a couple of others in the second lap and felt pretty strong initially. The tires went away from me early, and I struggled with the rears on the reds, and we pitted to get on the blacks, and unfortunately Vautier hit us as I was trying to pass Pagenaud. It was kind of a mess, and Pagenaud appeared to be struggling with the rears (tires), so I was trying to get by him and Vautier drove over his head, and I should have known it could happen. He couldn't have even had his (car) nose next to my rear pod, and the contact didn't leave a mark on the tires, which tells you something. (About learning today for tomorrow's race:) "The laps that you do today help. As dad said on the radio, this became a test session for us. Unfortunately with the issues that we had getting the car started, we lost a few laps and knew we were totally out of contention for anything but a top-20 at best. So you just try things like driver lines and I figured some stuff out, but we have some work to do before tomorrow."
JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "I was ready to make a standing start, and it just didn't happen, which was a shame. I think the fans were looking forward to it, too. I got a shocking start, either way. Pagenaud nearly spun, and I got boxed in. I got blocked to the inside on the initial start and lost a few positions there. We tried to work our way up but struggled. The track temperature came up, and it really seemed to affect us. When it's cool, we're pretty quick, if not one of the quickest cars out there. It's a shame that we didn't get 10th place. I made a mistake on the restart after the last caution, and two cars got past me. I'm disappointed, but we'll move on and see what we can do tomorrow."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "On the last lap, it was tight. There might have been a little move on Dario's part, but that's racing, and we sometimes come together in Turn 3. We will go for another win in our Verizon car tomorrow. It will be a little harder starting from fifth. We had a chance today, but we just didn't get it right. We will try again tomorrow."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "It was a mechanical failure. I couldn't select the gears. It was stuck in second."
Point Standings: Castroneves 384, Hunter-Reay 345, Dixon 342, Andretti 333, Kanaan 301, Hinchcliffe 296, Pagenaud 291, Franchitti 274, Wilson 272, Power 260.
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