Power Wins at Toronto

Photo Credit: IndyCar

Team Penske’s Will Power has won the 2016 Honda Indy Toronto by a 1.5275-second margin of over teammate Helio Castroneves after 85 laps around the 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street circuit around Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario in Canada. Power started the race in the 4th position, on the outside of the 2nd row.

The win is Power’s 28th career Verizon IndyCar Series win, 3rd career victory at Toronto, 3rd of the season, and 3rd in the last 4 races. Power has placed in the top 2 positions in each of the past 4 races, with his only non-win being a 2nd place finish a week ago at Iowa Speedway. His last victory at Toronto came back in the 2010 season.

Drivers of the Chevrolet-powered cars took the top 2, 3 of the top 4, and 6 of the top 9 finishing spots in today’s race, while drivers of the Honda-powered cars showed some strides in grabbing 3 of the top 6 spots.

Hometown hero James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan, and Takuma Sato rounded out the top 5 finishing positions, respectively. Polesitter Scott Dixon finished in the 8th position, while championship leader Simon Pagenaud finished in 9th. Last year’s race winner, Josef Newgarden, finished in last (22nd) place after a crash on lap 58 that ultimately ended up ruining not only his day, but Dixon’s, Pagenaud’s, Charlie Kimball’s, and Juan Pablo Montoya’s.

The race appeared to be in Scott Dixon’s hands, but a caution flag flew on lap 58 when Josef Newgarden crashed, just before Dixon was going to come in for his final pit stop of the day. This cycled not only Dixon, but frontrunners Simon Pagenaud, Charlie Kimball, and Juan Pablo Montoya to the back of the field when they eventually pitted under yellow with the field all packed up. Power and Castroneves, however, had come to pit lane for their final stop just before the caution flag flew, so they cycled to the front end of the field and did not look back.

The race featured a total of 6 lead changes among 6 different drivers. Dixon led the most laps with 56 laps led after a total race domination that unfortunately did not end up the way most IndyCar fans had envisioned.

The race featured a total of 5 cautions. The 1st caution came out on lap 2 of the race (collision happened in the closing turns of lap 1), when Ryan Hunter-Reay nudged Graham Rahal, who got into the side of Charlie Kimball, who was then run into by Ryan Hunter-Reay after spinning out in the middle of the track.

The 2nd caution came out on lap 6 of the race, when Juan Pablo Montoya slightly hit the bumper of Josef Newgarden on a pass attempt, causing some debris to end up in the middle of the track on the backstretch.

The 3rd caution came out on lap 4 of the race, when portions of the curbing in turn 5 were being ripped up out of the ground, creating a noticeable hole in the curbing and littering the track with debris.

The 4th caution came out on lap 58 of the race, when Josef Newgarden, last week’s race winner at Iowa, lost control of his car when he went up and over the damaged curbing in turn 5 and he hit the outside barrier with a lot of force. This caution changed the complexion of the race, as it made pit strategy a huge factor in determining the big winners and big losers of the event.

The 5th caution came out on lap 82 of the race, when Jack Hawksworth got into the tire barrier at the exit of turn 5, and Juan Pablo Montoya ended up there as well having taken a line into turn 5 that did not allow him to get around Hawksworth’s stationary car, which was just an obstacle at that point. This caution allowed drivers such as James Hinchcliffe and Takuma Sato to save enough fuel to make it to the end of the race.

Following the 5th caution, a 1-lap spring to the finish occurred with a restart on lap 85, during which none of the drivers in the top spots changed positions, particularly because Will Power, who was leading at the final restart, had more pushes-to-pass (extra horsepower for a couple of seconds) saved up than anyone else.

The Verizon IndyCar Series’ next race will be the Honda Indy 200, which will be the 12th of 16 of the season and will be held on Sunday, July 31st at 2:37 PM ET at the 13-turn 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a natural-terrain road course in Lexington, Ohio. Graham Rahal was the winner of the 2015 Honda Indy 200.  The race broadcast will be on CNBC and will begin at 2:00 PM ET.

Race ranking out of races I’ve watched: 48/103

-Asher Fair