Honda Indy Toronto Racing Report

Circuit: Exhibition Place (1.755-mile street circuit) Toronto, Ont., Canada
2011 Winner: Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) 76.805 mph average
Weather: Mostly sunny, warm, 80 degrees F

Top 10 Race Results:

Fn. St. Driver Team Engine Chassis Laps Average Speed/Notes
1. 6. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 85 129.371 mph avg.; led 15 laps
2. 13. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara 85 -0.1103 seconds; led 3 laps
3. 11. Mike Conway A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 85 -2.7245 seconds
4. 17. Tony Kanaan KV Racing Technology Chevrolet Dallara 85 -3.0075 seconds; led 76 laps
5. 14. Oriol Servia DRR Panther Racing Chevrolet Dallara 85 -3.8468 seconds
6. 7. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 85 -5.3061 seconds; led 133 laps
7. 15. JR Hildebrand Panther Racing Chevrolet Dallara 85

-2.6233 seconds; led 1 lap

8. 19. James Jakes Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 85 -3.7294 seconds
9. 9. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Dallara 85 -6.5633 seconds
10. 16. Alex Tagliani Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Dallara 85 -9.9764 seconds

Other Honda-powered Results:
12. 8. Simon Pagenaud-R  Sam Schmidt Motorsports Honda Dallara 85 -13.873 seconds; led 23 laps
13. 20. Josef Newgarden-R Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda Dallara 84 Running
17. 1. Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 84 Did not finish-contact
21. 3. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 67 Did not finish-contact
23. 10. Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara 23 Did not finish-contact
25. 5. Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 7 Did not finish-mechanical

R – IndyCar Series Rookie

Kimball Takes Career High Second in Toronto

Coming from mid-field starting positions, Charlie Kimball and Mike Conway passed their way to podium finishes Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto, with Kimball claiming an IZOD IndyCar Series career-high second place finish at the Exhibition Place street circuit and Conway taking third, his best result since joining A.J. Foyt Racing at the start of the 2012 season. 

Starting 13th, Kimball gained two positions in the opening laps, and was up to eighth place on Lap 30.  Fifteen laps later he had climbed to sixth.  After the final round of pit stops on Lap 55 became embroiled in the battle of the race, fighting for what was then third place with fellow Honda-powered drivers Simon Pagenaud, Justin Wilson and Josef Newgarden, along with Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe. 

A brush with the wall sent Wilson to the pits on Lap 67, and five laps later Kimball was able to successfully pass both Pagenaud and Tony Kanaan in a single move at the end of the Lakeshore Blvd. straight to jump from fourth to second, where he finished behind race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Now in his second season of IndyCar competition, the second-place finish is the best of Kimball’s career, following a trio of eighth-place runs earlier this season.

Conway’s race played out in a similarly dramatic fashion.  Running 11th with 15 laps remaining, he took advantage of a strong-running Honda Dallara package in the closing laps to capitalize on passing opportunities and the mistakes of others to move to fifth by Lap 80, and then third on the final race restart on Lap 82, when multiple incidents at Turns 1 and 3 resulted in the race ending under caution. 

Other potential Honda-powered contenders encountered various problems on the challenging Toronto street circuit.  Detroit race winner Scott Dixon dropped out after only seven laps with engine failure, while his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti encountered problems during his first pit stop, dropping the pole qualifier deep in the 25-car starting field.

Wilson started third and ran at the front until a brush with the wall ended his day.  Pagenaud led 23 laps mid-race, but later made contact with Newgarden as the pair battled for position, resulting in Newgarden making minor wall contact and a penalty for Pagenaud. 

The IZOD IndyCar Series continues its annual Canadian swing in two weeks, with the Edmonton Indy, July 22 at City Centre Airport in Edmonton, Alberta.

IZOD IndyCar Series Drivers' Championship (after 10 races):

1. Ryan Hunter-Reay 335 points (3 wins)  6. Tony Kanaan 267
2. Will Power 301 (3 wins) 7. Simon Pagenaud 264
3. Helio Castroneves 289 (1 win) 8. Dario Franchitti 230
4. Scott Dixon 281 (1 win) 9. Ryan Briscoe 217
5. James Hinchcliffe 268 10. Oriol Servia 215

Manufacturers' Championship: Rookie of the Year:
1. Chevrolet 81 1. Simon Pagenaud 264
2. Honda 68 2. Josef Newgarden 143
3. Lotus 40 3. Katherine Legge 103

Charlie Kimball (#83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 13th, finished a career-high 2nd: “This is a big deal for us.  Huge.  It should become a regular feeling.  I had such a great car from the team today and the new push-to-pass from Honda was perfect.  All I had to do was push the pedal and steer.  I know there were only 25 cars out there, but the number of times I passed people made it feel more like 50.  I don’t know about everybody in the stands, but I sure had a lot of fun in the cockpit.  I can’t wait to get back, not only here next year, but in Edmonton in two weeks.”

Mike Conway (#14 A.J. Foyt Racing Honda) started 11th, finished a season-high 3rd, first podium finish for A.J. Foyt Racing since Sao Paulo Brazil in 2010: “Our car was so good under braking, I just kept driving up the inside and passing people.  This one’s for A.J. [Foyt].  We’ve been trying all year to give him a good result and finally pulled it off today.”

Roger Griffiths (Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race:  "It was encouraging to see our younger drivers run really well this weekend, not only Charlie Kimball, but also Mike Conway, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud.  They are the future of the Honda IndyCar lineup in the seasons to come.  We didn’t lose today’s race on horsepower; a look at the fastest race laps posted by our teams and drivers confirms that the speed is there.  But we didn’t make it easy on ourselves today with the early problem for Scott Dixon, the pit stop delay for Dario Franchitti and then Justin Wilson’s issue.  On a positive note, we introduced push-to-pass this weekend without any problems – a real credit to our engineers’ efforts these past two weeks.  Now, we march onward to Edmonton and we’ll try to turn things around there.”

For photographs from today’s race, go to:
http://www.sportssystems.com/hosting/display.cfm?key=101633

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