“Prix-Viewing” the Honda Indy Toronto

Photo Credit: elkharttruth.com

The 11th race out of 16 scheduled races of the 2016 Verizon Indycar Series campaign takes us to the streets of Toronto, Ontario in Canada around Exhibition Place on Sunday, July 17th. The indycars will race 85 laps around the 11-turn 1.755-mile temporary street circuit.

Simon Pagenaud leads the Indycar points championship after finishing in 2nd place in both the 1st and 2nd races of this season in St. Petersburg and Phoenix as well as at Belle Isle, and winning in Long Beach, Alabama, and Indianapolis (Grand Prix). Other race winners from earlier this season are Josef Newgarden, who won last week at Iowa, Will Power, who won at the 2nd Detroit race and at Road America, Scott Dixon, who won at Phoenix, Alexander Rossi, who won the Indianapolis 500,  Juan Pablo Montoya, who won at St. Petersburg, and Sebastien Bourdais, who won at the 1st Detroit race. Those drivers sit 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 11th, and 14th in the championship standings, respectively.

Former winners of the Toronto race in this year’s field are Will Power (2007 and 2010), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2012), Scott Dixon (2013, twice), Sebastien Bourdais (2004 and 2014), and Josef Newgarden (2015).

Also of note is the Chevrolet vs. Honda battle. Drivers of the Honda-powered cars have seemed to race slightly better than they’ve qualified so far this year, but have only won 1 of the 10 races thus far this season, that being Alexander Rossi at the Indianapolis 500. This win showed, however, that they are indeed very strong and can be competitive, and it gives them a lot of momentum moving forward. James Hinchcliffe, driving a Honda-powered car, started from pole in the Indianapolis 500. It was Honda’s 1st pole since 2014 in race 1 of the Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. Drivers of Chevrolet-powered cars had taken 30 consecutive pole positions since then. The drivers of the Honda-powered cars were also very strong at Texas Motor Speedway, running 1st, 2nd, and 3rd when the race was suspended at 71 out of 248 laps, and taking the pole for that race as well with Carlos Munoz.

Honda appeared to be closing the performance gap to Chevy over the final stages of the 2015 season, but Chevy has come out and dominated to start off this season, winning 9 of the first 10 races. However, Honda seemed to make some strides at Alabama, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis 500, getting Graham Rahal to 2nd place at Alabama, placing 8 of the top 13 cars at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and sweeping the top 2 positions at the Indianapolis 500. They also placed 4 cars in the top 7 and 7 in the top 12 in Race #1 of the Dual in Detroit, and ran well at Texas before the race was suspended. Over the past 2 race weekends, however, the drives of the Chevrolet-powered cars have dominated, sweeping the top 2 spots at Road America and the top 4 spots at Iowa.

 

Drivers to watch for (with engine manufacturers):

 

The obvious:

Josef Newgarden (Chevrolet): Newgarden won at Toronto in 2015.

Sebastien Bourdais (Chevrolet): Bourdais won at Toronto in 2004 and in 2014.

Scott Dixon (Chevrolet): Dixon won at Toronto twice in 2013.

Will Power (Chevrolet): Power won at Toronto in 2007 and in 2010.

Tony Kanaan (Chevrolet): In 13 starts, Kanaan’s best finish at Toronto is 2nd place.

Helio Castroneves (Chevrolet): In 13 starts, Castroneves’ best finish at Toronto is 2nd place.

Simon Pagenaud (Chevrolet): In 7 starts, Pagenaud’s best finish at Toronto is 4th place.

 

Less Obvious:

Ryan Hunter-Reay (Honda): Hunter-Reay won at Toronto in 2012.

Charlie Kimball (Chevrolet): In 7 starts, Kimball’s best finish at Toronto is 2nd place.

Graham Rahal (Honda): In 10 starts, Rahal’s best finish at Toronto is 5th place.

Juan Pablo Montoya (Chevrolet): In 5 starts, Montoya’s best finish at Toronto is 7th place.

 

Sleepers:

Luca Filippi (Honda): In 3 starts, Filippi’s best finish at Toronto is 2nd place.

Takuma Sato (Honda): In 8 starts, Sato’s best finish at Toronto is 5th place.

James Hinchcliffe (Honda): In 6 starts, Hinchcliffe’s best finish at Toronto is 8th place.

Carlos Munoz (Honda): In 4 starts, Munoz’s best finish at Toronto is 17th.

Alexander Rossi (Honda): Rossi has never raced at Toronto.

Conor Daly (Honda): Daly has never raced at Toronto.

 

Other notables:

Marco Andretti (Honda): In 9 starts, Andretti’s best finish at Toronto is 4th place.

Jack Hawksworth (Honda): In 3 starts, Hawksworth’s best finish at Toronto is 6th place.

Mikhail Aleshin (Honda): In 2 starts, Aleshin’s better finish at Toronto is 11th place.

Max Chilton (Chevrolet): Chilton has never raced at Toronto.

Spencer Pigot (Chevrolet): Pigot has never raced at Toronto.

 

-Asher Fair