Track Talk: #indyTO Review

track-talk

 

July 19th, 2017

Josef Newgarden wins, Scott Dixon puts on a master class in damage control, and Andretti Autosport gets a break. We review the Honda Indy Toronto in this week’s edition of #TrackTalk

Josef Newgarden bags his second win of the season: Josef Newgarden takes the top spot for the second time this season, and the second time in Toronto. (He won the 2015 Honda Indy) He qualified outside of the Firestone Fast Six, but a well-timed pit stop just as a caution came out vaulted him into the lead where he remained unchallenged for the win. Newgarden moves from fifth to fourth in points.

A bad day for Scott Dixon: IndyCar points leader, Scott Dixon, was caught up in a first-lap accident with Will Power that sent him all they way to the back. Showing everyone why he’s a four-time champion, Dixon raced his way through the field to finish 10th- just enough to retain the points leader over Helio Castroneves.

And speaking of Helio Castroneves: He started third, and raced his way to the lead in turn one- overtaking polesitter Simon Pagenaud and second-place starter, Graham Rahal. He probably would have left Toronto the point’s leader had it not been for the caution flag that gifted Newgarden the lead. Either way, Castroneves cuts Dixon’s championship lead down to three points.

A great day for Andretti Autosport: We’ve noted many times on TrackTalk that outside of the Indy 500, Andretti Autosport hasn’t really been a factor the past two seasons. Toronto has always been good to the Andretti name (Michael has a record seven wins), and last Sunday was no exception. Alexander Rossi finished second, Marco Andretti scored his best finish of the season in fourth, while Ryan Hunter-Reay came home sixth.

The battle for the championship: All drivers through positions one to four are closer than ever- separated by a mere 23 points. If you’re one of those drivers, what’s your strategy? It’s simple. Win, and win as much as you can. Like the Indy 500, IndyCar pays double-points for the finale in Sonoma. After leading the entire season, Juan Pablo Montoya lost the 2015 championship on a tiebreaker when Dixon won the finale. Dixon finished the season with three wins to Montoya’s two. Last season Pagenaud had a sizable lead going into Sonoma- one that would require some personal bad luck for his opponents to overcome. In the end it didn’t matter because he won the finale, and finished 127 points clear of second place Will Power.

Victor Genova is the host of the Media People Podcast and a freelance racing writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @VicGenova