Josef Newgarden conquers Toronto’s streets methodically for the win as Will Power rues first lap contact. On a day to forget and to remember for the Team Penske team-mates.
Twitter: Congrats to @josefnewgarden, @Team_Penske, and @TeamChevy for winning the @hondaindy! #IndyTO #INDYCAR https://t.co/hG9lVhNfhJ (@IndyCar)
Power’s Toronto experience lasted all but three corners, as the Australian made terminal contact with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon at Turn 3. That left the Penske man retiring without finishing a lap. Debris was cleared and Power’s Team Penske-Chevy boxed under a short full course yellow.
Meanwhile, Helio Castroneves was leading after getting a great jump from P3 and led the first 25 laps. The Brazilian who ended his 53-race winless drought in Iowa last week; seemed to be on pace for a potential repeat of Iowa out in front. Then, Tony Kanaan made contact in Turn 1 bringing out last caution of the day. While Castroneves was out front most of the field was cycling in and out for their pit stops before Kanaan’s contact on Lap 23; the last was Newgarden.
The 25-year-old made his pit call at the last possible moment before Kanaan’s contact and the closing of the pits. Because of that, those that didn’t pit cycled to the back of grid under the caution, gifting Newgarden the lead. The Kanaan incident also helped Andretti Autosport man Alexander Rossi who cycled in behind Newgarden as the race went green.
Once out in front, the Tennessee-native controlled the pace out in clear air. Newgarden would lead a total of 58 laps of the 85 total, gapping his lead between 3.1s and 4.1s in his first stint as race leader. His second stint would be more tightly fought as Rossi would trim the lead to 1.4s, but no more. The Penske rookie’s methodical drive proved why team owner Roger Penske was so keen on the former Ed Carpenter Racing driver.
Behind the top-three of Newgarden, Rossi, and James Hinchcliffe, the race was much tighter. With five seconds covering P1-P3, the gap between P3 and P4 and rest an astonishing 18.7 seconds. Down the grid from P4, drivers were no more and a second or a second and half behind the car in front, but the top-three had pulled away.
Newgarden’s win in Toronto is his second of the year, his second for Team Penske, and fifth career win.
Honda Indy Toronto Race Notes:
– Sebastian Saavedra, filling in for Mikhail Aleshin at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, performed admirably starting P20 and finishing P11.
– Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones, suffered a mechanical issue on Lap 75 and retired.
– On his only race lead lap on Lap 55, polesitter Simon Pagenaud, claimed the fastest overall lap and race leader lap: 1:00.2357s with a top speed of 106.741 mph.
– Esteban Gutierrez, the other DCR rookie, finished P14 after starting last.