Overheard in Toronto – Friday

A decent turnout on Make-A-Wish Foundation Free Friday, but still pale in comparison to the CART days…….Spotted Italian Giorgio Pantano hanging out in the E.J. Viso pits again. He's helping EJ Viso coach some young drivers and he is still hoping to someday land an IndyCar drive.

Still hearing good things about the Ft. Lauderdale race for next year. We are expecting it to happen and we hear next year's Brazil race will happen around the same week as this year.

Justin Wilson had a day he would like to soon forget. In the morning session his throttle stuck coming into the pits and he mowed down of few of his Dale Coyne Racing and Dragon Racing crew members. He drove the car into the pit wall to try and stop it, but it bounced off and collected bodies. Then later in the first practice he spun the car to avoid making contact with Alex Tagliani's car that had crashed. In the afternoon session he was 2nd quick until late in the session when he tried too hard and crashed. "It was totally my fault," said Wilson. "I was trying to go too hard too soon and I overcooked the corner. This is a day I would prefer to forget. I will try to get a good night sleep and forget about it for tomorrow. We also need a gear change for the morning," that Wilson thinks will make him faster.

All injured crew members have been released from the hospital.

Hearing that Newman/Haas Racing is still largely intact and hoping to put together a deal to return to racing.

Dario Franchitti appears fairly confident and stepped out of his car 10-min early in the 2nd practice and dared anyone to beat him. They couldn't.

Road to Indy: Look for Star Mazda to introduce a new car in 2014 – the same year as Indy Lights. We hear Mazda would like the two cars to have a 'similar' look. The Indy Lights field is diminished to just 11 cars now and needs something to get it out of neutral.

Look for Beccy Gordon, sister of NASCAR team owner Robbie Gordon, and wife of IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, to race in this year's Pikes Peak Hillclimb driving an all-electric Mitsubishi i.

Body Kits: Probably won't happen for next year because the average fan can't tell the difference and at speed. As was pointed out, run all the F1 cars unpainted and you can't tell one car from another, so why would it be any different for IndyCar. Eventually the body kit makers would copy each other and they would all look alike.

Tagliani: "The last street course we went to was Detroit, it was our first race with Honda power and we qualified third, so I have good memories on what the car should feel like and we should not be too far off. Hopefully we can have a good car like we had in Detroit and have another great weekend.

"I think this year’s race is going to be just as exciting as last year's. The composition of this track is what it is, so yeah there’s the push-to-pass that’s been added, I think you’ll see more passing, it will be tough to defend because we’ve been used to 12 horsepower, we expect a lot more than that. I don’t know the exact number, but I’ve been told it’s a minimum of 50 horsepower when you go from 1.5 to 1.6 boost, the rest is just track related. You have places to pass in Turn 8, you have places in Turn 3, and Turn 1 has always been more difficult other than on restarts, because you’re coming out of Turn 11 and it’s a pretty quick corner so it’s tough to stick your nose very close behind another car because of the loss of aero. But with the new aero package and the new chassis, the racing has been better everywhere. We’re not missing any passes, the action has been pretty amazing, so I think push-to-pass will just make it more, but the track is what it is."

To date, we have three grid penalties for Sunday’s race:

The No. 98 Team Barracuda-BHA car driven by Alex Tagliani also will incur a 10-grid spot penalty at Toronto as the team has chosen to install its fourth fresh engine instead of refitting its Indianapolis 500 practice/qualifying engine after meeting the mileage limit of its Indianapolis 500 race engine (Rule 15.5.4.b violation).

The No. 27 Andretti Autosport car driven by James Hinchcliffe will incur a 10-grid spot penalty at Toronto for an unapproved engine change (15.5.1)

The No. 78 Lotus-HVM car driven by Simona de Silvestro will receive a 10-grid spot penalty for changing out the engine before it reached its mileage limit defined in Rule 15.5.1. Because the team fitted its sixth engine of the season for the Toronto race (the engine service agreement is five), in violation of Rule 15.1.4, it will receive a 10-grid spot penalty at the Edmonton Indy in two weeks.

Sections of the 1.75-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit for the Honda Indy Toronto have been repaved (short straight between Turns 2 and 3, and the apex of Turns 3, 7, 8 and 9).

"Instead of doing patch work, we took out larger sections of track for a more consistent surface," event vice president and general manager Charlie Johnstone said.

Helio Castroneves said the changes, especially transition areas of concrete to asphalt — combined with the re-instituted push to pass — will alter the car set-up and gearing.

Lotus debuted the first of its engine upgrades Friday. While it was difficult to judge the level of success, Simona De Silvestro was 20th among the 24 drivers.

Mark C. reporting from Toronto

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