Highlights of the 2016 Honda Indy Toronto
The 2016 Honda Indy Toronto is now in the history books. This year’s event brought a number of new things- including the relocation of pit lane. We take a look back at some of the stories that emerged from this year’s race.
Will Power takes his third Honda Indy Toronto victory
Some pit strategy, mixed with some caution periods and a bit of luck, propelled Will Power into the lead in the final laps of the race. Pole-sitter Scott Dixon led a race-high 56 laps, while his teammate, Tony Kanaan, tried to (unsuccessfully) stretch his final fuel run to the end of the race. Power is now tied with Dario Franthitti for second on the all-time Honda Indy Toronto win list with three. He’ll need to win four more to tie Michael Andretti’s seven.
Oh Canada! Oh James Hinchcliffe!
Oakville’s James Hinchcliffe made the hometown crowd very proud with his third place finish. It’s the first time since 2006 (Paul Tracy finished second) that a Canadian has been on the Honda Indy Toronto podium. A roaring comeback when you consider that Hinchcliffe missed last year’s race because of an injury.
Josef Newgarden: From first-to-last
2015 Honda Indy Toronto winner, Josef Newgarden, was riding a wave of success after dominating the Iowa IndyCar race just a week earlier. Fast all weekend, he narrowly missed out on the Firestone Fast Six. Unfortunately for Newgarden, that’s where his luck stopped. Early contact forced him to pit for a new rear wing. He fell to the back after that, and then hit the wall coming out of turn five. Newgarden’s last-place finish dropped him from second, to fifth, in the Verizon IndyCar Series points.
Takuma Sato: Your 2016 hard-charger
Not everyone who started in the back stayed there. AJ Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato wins the award for picking off the most spots. Starting 20th (out of 22 drivers), he mixed strategy with some hard racing to bring the #14 car home in an impressive fifth.
The new Andretti Curse?
If there’s one team that probably wants to forget about this weekend, it’s Andretti Autosport. The four-car armada could only manage 15th as its best qualifying result (courtesy of Carlos Munoz). Marco Andretti qualified dead last, but finished a respectable 10th- higher than any of his teammates.
Simon Pagenaud’s championship lead
By virtue of the Verizon IndyCar Series points system, Simon Pagenaud was guaranteed to leave Toronto with the points lead- regardless of where he finished. Finishing ninth means there’s only 47 points between himself, and second-place Will Power. On paper, Pagenaud may seem like the man to beat, until you realize that Power’s rise to the top includes missing the season opener in St. Petersburg because of an ear infection. Will there be a chase for the championship? Or will be left wondering what could have been had Power raced in St. Petersburg?
Victor Genova is the host of the Media People Podcast and a freelance racing writer. @VicGenova