The Honda Indy is one of Toronto’s most highly anticipated events. This 3 day event is jam-packed with activities, 7 different kinds of races, food, beer and entertainment. This year Wheels.ca and I had the pleasure of experiencing the Indy first hand right in the pits.
The main event of the Honda Indy was the Verizon IndyCar Series race which took place on Sunday. Although the rain was on-and-off all day, weather conditions could not stop the races from going full force. You could feel the adrenaline from each team in the pit stop. The temperature was cool and crisp (about 19 degrees), but the heat from the engines in the pits made it feel like it was a much hotter day. As the race began, the smell of gasoline and determination filled the air. Each team’s crew dropped a serious look on their face and glued their eyes to the track. The sound of Indy engines zipping came in and out of my ears as drivers flew past us. It was so loud I could feel my body vibrating every time a car passed by! Sitting in the pit stop area made me feel like I was right in the middle of the action.
The bleachers were filled with racing fans clenching their seats as they watched drivers hit speeds of up to 145km/hour on slippery roads. Just when the audience thought they could relax, in the 72nd lap Josef Newgarden of CFH Racing made his way to the front of the race. He held on to the #1 spot until the 85th and final lap and won the race! This is an exciting 2nd IndyCar victory for the American as he won the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in April. Newgarden finished 1.4485 seconds ahead of his CFH teammate, Luca Filippi (2nd place winner). This gave CFH Racing their first 1-2.
This year is the first year CFH has hit the streets as a team and winning a 1-2 shows that they have a lot to look forward to. “This is a new team this year and so to already be able to get a 1-2 with this group is really incredible,” Newgarden said about his team.
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2nd Place winner Italian Luca Filippi was an IndyCar broadcast journalist for years. He says he took a break from racing and finds it hard to believe he’s back and on the podium! The second place finish was a career best effort for the Italian.
In 3rd place was Helio Castroneves who was pleased with this result considering he faced a number of challenges during the race. Right behind him in 4th place was his Penske teammate, Will Power.
The Honda Indy Toronto is one of many races that add to the competitor’s points. Although Josef Newgarden won at the Toronto track, he is standing in 8th place in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Juan Pablo Montoya of Team Penske leads the series with 374 points. He is followed by his teammate, Will Power who is in 2nd place with 347 points. In 3rd place is Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing with 329 points.
Unfortunately there were no Canadians in the Verizon IndyCar Series race on Sunday. Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe is still recovering from his leg injury caused in an accident about a month ago. However, he did serve as a grand marshal at the race!
The 2016 Honda Indy Toronto will return to it’s July date next year. It is also expected to go back to being a double header race which means even more action and intensity! I’m looking forward to it.
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All photos courtesy of?Gilbert Benamou
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