Sunday morning update from Toronto GP (2nd Update)

UPDATE I am anticipating an exciting race in Toronto today. It is sunny and the temperature is only 73 degrees here. There is a good crowd moving around today. I expect the grandstands to be full when the IndyCar race starts at 3:15 pm.

The pit lane speed limit was changed on Friday to 40 MPH. Normally the limit is 50 on road courses, but because of the curved pit lane, the series decided they would slow down the cars while coming in.

The staff in the Media Centre has been great. The promoter did a good job of placement in the Enercare Centre, which is right outside the IndyCar and ladder series paddock. And not far from the new pit lane. The only glitch was no timing for the NASCAR race, but we did have the track feed.

Out to pit lane while they grid the cars… Lucille Dust reporting from Toronto

07/17/16

Raphael Matos
Raphael Matos

The morning IndyCar warmup was littered with red flags. Spencer Pigot started off the incidents running into the run off. Then the pole sitter, Scott Dixon, had 2 incidents. He stalled coming out of the pits early in the session and then spun in turn one and brushed the tire barrier with his back wing. He tore off a chunk on the side of that wing and the crew changed it during practice.

Mikhail Aleshin also had a moment on the track but drove away with no apparent damage. Simon Pagenaud caused the first red flag. Pagenaud, the points leader, spun and barely missed the tire barrier with the nose of his car. He continued with no damage his machine. Conor Daly added to the morning madness by brushing the wall and damaging the front wing. He caused the second red flag and was placed behind the wall until the session ended with 3 minutes left.

I spoke with Raphael Matos during the warm up. He stated that he is looking to get back to IndyCar racing. The economy is in turmoil in Brazil and he wants to come back to Indy Lights and run a season. He won the Indycar Lights Championship in 2008 driving for AGR-AFS Racing. In 2009, he completed the entire IndyCar Series season driving for Luczo-Dragon Racing. His best finish was at the Milwaukee Mile oval where he finished 6th. He won Rookie of the Year in the IndyCar Series that year.

The former Indycar driver failed to inform me that he is suspended from racing in Brazil for 2 years after failing a drug test. The Brazilian Automobile Confederation announced the ban in December of 2015 after his failed drug test in October.

No changes have been made to the start location of the race. The IndyCar drivers are just going to have to start the race at a little slower pace than normally here on the streets of Toronto.

Organizers of the 2016 Honda Indy Toronto announce that the Canadian Armed Forces will lead the ceremonies, participating in all VIP roles during the pre-race celebrations for the marquee Verizon IndyCar Series race that runs this afternoon at Exhibition Place.

Led by a military G Wagon, a group of 300 active military reservists representing the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force will kick off the ceremonies by conducting a march past along the track to salute the race fans.

Major General Mike Rouleau, Commander of Canada’s Special Operations Forces will serve as Grand Marshal, giving the celebrated “drivers, start your engines" command and Sgt. Darryl Casselman of the Royal Highland Fusiliers will sing both the Canadian and US national anthems

Fans will be thrilled to see Two CF-18 Hornets from the 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron based out of CFB Bagotville, Quebec fly over the track following the performance of the national anthem. Members of the Royal Canadian Navy flag party from HMCS YORK will present the colours for the feature race.

“We are so proud to be able to say this special ‘thank you’ to the men and women who serve us all so well," said Jeff Atkinson, president of the Honda Indy Toronto. “We are thrilled that they are joining us to celebrate 30 years of racing on the streets of Toronto with such an impactful presence."

A decorated military member will serve as the honourary starter and will wave the Green Flag at the Start/Finish line as 3:15 p.m. this afternoon to officially start the 85-lap race for the 2016 Honda Indy Toronto.

Lucille Dust reporting from Toronto

Curved pitlane
Curved pitlane

07/17/16 It is a sunny but cool morning in Toronto. Such uncommon weather for July. But the temperatures are expected to reach high 70s by race time today.

Congratulations to Alex Tagliani for winning the exciting NASCAR race yesterday afternoon. Tagliani and Andrew Ranger fiercely battled for the lead of the race along with Daniel Morad, a former Indy Lights driver, and Kevin Lacroix, who ended up finishing third.

Morad was asked to drive in the NASCAR series just one hour before the first practice. Since he lives in Toronto, he rushed to his doctor before arriving at the track. Then he handed his medical form to the officials as he was climbing in the car for the first practice session.

Morad drove two races in the Indy Lights Series back in 2011 at Edmonton. That was a double race weekend for the Lights. He is currently racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the #24 InSync Riley/BMW Prototype with Alegra Motorsports and in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series with Alegra/Porsche Centre Oakville Motorsport.

The drivers' meeting will be happening soon. I am not sure that anything will change regarding the starting line for the IndyCar race. All the other series that are racing here have had no issues with starting double file and coming out of turn 11. For clarification, the reason the wall is where it is at turn 11 is because there is a traffic signal at that corner, preventing the relocation of the wall.

Safety in the pits is also a concern today. Not for the drivers, but for the crews. Conor Daly expressed his concern because of the pit angles and how some of the cars will have to come it. Green flag pit stops will be scary for the guys who stand out on the edge of the pits.

I will update you after warm up which happens at 10:30 am…

Lucille Dust reporting live from the Honda Indy Toronto.

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