TORONTO, ON – Scott Dixon was dominant in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto — from the first standing start in IZOD IndyCar Series history to the completion of 85 laps. Dixon, who won Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto by 1.7 seconds over Sebastien Bourdais on July 14, won Race 2 under caution because of a late accident to sweep the weekend doubleheader and earn the $100,000 SONAX Perfect Finish Award.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had such a dominant day,” said Dixon, who led 81 of the 85 laps in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
It was the third consecutive victory for two-time series champion Dixon, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday July 22. His last three-in-a-row stretch was in 2007 (Watkins Glen, Nashville, Mid-Ohio), and the last in the series was accomplished by Ryan Hunter-Reay (Milwaukee, Iowa, Toronto) en route to his 2012 series championship.
Dixon also earned his 32nd Indy car victory to overtake Dario Franchitti, Bourdais and Paul Tracy for seventh on the all-time list.
Al Unser Jr. is next up with 34 victories (nine on ovals, 25 of road/street courses). Dixon has won 17 races on ovals and 15 on road/street courses. He has earned 31 of his 32 victories with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, which he joined in 2003.
“If we can get more victories, we’re obviously doing something right,” Dixon said. “I credit a lot of that to the team.”
Helio Castroneves, who entered the race with a 39-point lead over Hunter-Reay in the championship standings, finished second and is 29 points clear of Dixon. Bourdais earned his second consecutive podium finish (his first since 2007), and Franchitti finished fourth. E.J. Viso, who started 10th, placed fifth.
Carlos Munoz, who was a race day replacement for Ryan Briscoe in the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car, advanced seven positions to finish 17th in his second IZOD IndyCar Series race. Briscoe suffered a fractured right wrist in Race 1.
Matthew Brabham won the 25-lap Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires race this morning, completing a sweep of both events for the series this weekend at Toronto.
Brabham beat Diego Ferreira to the checkered flag by 5.088 seconds for his seventh consecutive victory this season in an Andretti Autosport car. Brabham is the son of Le Mans 24 Hours winner Geoff Brabham and the grandson of three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham.
HONDA INDY TORONTO 2 IN T.O. RACE #2 QUICK QUOTES:
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, winner): “Once again, I want to thank everyone for coming out today. Toronto fans are something special. A little hotter today. The race was a little faster pace today, so we were definitely trying to hang on there. I think it’s been since, ’03 or ’08, I don’t know, since we’ve had that kind of run. I’m just so happy for the team. Second place in the points now. What a turnaround in a couple of weeks. It’s a big difference.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, second): “The car was better today. They were in a different league, Scott and Ganassi guys. I was pushing. Whatever he is taking for breakfast, I want it. Scott, tell me what you’re having for breakfast. Let’s be realistic: The guy was leading the whole race, 13 seconds ahead.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet, third): (About racing without push-to-pass, which malfunctioned on his car): “It was really hard, and it was from seventh place. I thought I was a sitting duck. Things just turned our way. I had a really good car on the restart. I was hooked up. I knew as soon as Ryan (Hunter-Reay) passed me, I had to get him back. I went for it, and it worked out.”
HONDA INDY TORONTO 2 IN T.O. RACE #2 POST-RACE QUOTES:
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet): “I want to thank my crew for getting the car ready for the race after what happened this morning. I was pushing hard in the race, got a little loose and tapped the wall ending our day. I feel bad for the guys and my sponsor Hydroxycut. This is a home race for them, and a lot of the employees came out to cheer me on. I just wish we could have put on a better show for them and the fans.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoRapid FlexTouch Honda): “What a great day for the NovoRapid FlexTouch car. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys did a great job in strategy and a great job in pit lane. All I had to do was drive, again, just like Pocono last weekend. They gave me a great car. We didn’t have the greatest of starts, but we stuck with our strategy, we stuck with the fuel mileage, and all we had to do was get spots while they were there. The No. 83 Honda was great. It was pretty tough out there today with the amount of marbles on the track. It was a hot day, so for a doubleheader it was hard work, but we’re already looking forward to heading to Mid-Ohio for the next round.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “That was a rough day. I hit the throttle and the car moved, but it just stalled. That put us behind the 8-ball immediately. The heat made the track very slippery today. At the end, I slid right into the wall pretty hard. I’m OK but frustrated right now. We had good car yesterday and could have been top-10 but took 13th. Today, I was hoping to get to the checkered flag after the tough start, and that didn’t happen. We have to go to Indy and regroup over the next few weeks.”
E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Citgo Chevrolet): “Well, finishing P5 after starting 11th, I think, is a pretty consistent job. The team, the crew, the strategy – they helped me put it all together. I think it’s about time that all these results start coming. I believe that performance has been there every single race, just lacking some results. Now, heading back into street and road courses, I think the results will start coming again. We needed to stay on top of the game the whole race. The heat in Toronto today was pretty intense; we needed to battle with the tires degrading pretty fast. I’m very thankful for the car that my team gave me today. I was able to do a pretty good job. They had great pit stops, and I’m just looking forward to the next street and road courses. Thanks to all of my supporters.”
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): “It was a long race and a hard race for me. It was basically my first time in an Indy car on a street course, and I didn’t know what to expect to be in a race here with so many cars out there. We continued to drop lap times and I got more and more comfortable with each lap, and by the end we put together quite a good lap, which are all positive things. It’s good work from the National Guard crew and my goal was to finish, and I finished, and I’m very happy to have this opportunity today.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): “The throttle stuck (on the start) – it’s pretty simple. I was just going through the routine of the standing start, and as soon as I put my thumb on the throttle, it stuck 100 percent, and that was about a minute before they gave the command (to start engines). We tried WD-40, but unfortunately that wasn’t the magic fix, and we had to replace the pedal and went three laps down right off the bat. Then we had no yellows to help us out; we ran around in the back all day. Obviously gutted for the team and for GoDaddy, but more than anyone for the fans. It sucks for everyone that came out today. I was hoping for better in my hometown. But we weren’t going to give up – I wanted to go out, finish the race and get any points we could.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): “It was a pretty painful race. We were struggling from the beginning. We didn’t quite have the pace and couldn’t really get the grip we needed to get out onto the straightaways smoothly, so it was a big struggle. Not super-happy, but hopefully we can turn it around for the next one.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Dr Pepper Chevrolet): “We did what we had to today; I just wanted to finish. I think we messed the car up this morning in the warm-up. What I thought was going to be a good car in warm-up turned out to be less grip than yesterday, so we were just hanging on. The Dr Pepper car couldn’t charge anywhere. We hurt the car on the brakes, so I was really tentative with braking. I couldn’t make the passes I made yesterday, so we just hung in there. We managed a top-10 and will move on to Mid-Ohio in a couple weeks.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): “Will (Power) was coming out from the bottom. I had a good run going on the outside, I was right next to him and he just – he was sliding across the patch. I talked to him, and he just said he got loose on the bottom and he just drove right up into us. There’s two lanes going through (Turn 1), everybody kind of respects that and … I don’t think he drove into me on purpose, but we were taken out of the race. We had a good day going and had a decent car. We hung on today; that’s what I was doing. I think we had a chance at a podium, maybe a fourth (place finish). I would have been happy with that. The DHL Chevy was a little lacking grip this weekend, and we were just trying to hang out. Had a good race; I tried really hard to just keep it right there; got up to third at one point. But we got taken out again.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a disappointing end for the Verizon team. We worked so hard all day and had a good run throughout most of the race. Then for it to come to an end like it did on the last restart is such a heartbreaker. We will just look ahead and work for a better result at Mid-Ohio.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): “It was a weekend for us to forget for us with results, but I think we learned a lot. I’m not pleased with 12th, but if you consider all of the things that went wrong for us, it wasn’t bad. I think we made the best of our situation, so I’ll take that positive away from the weekend. Today told us exactly what we need to test in the HP car at Mid-Ohio, so that’s good. It’s certainly nice to get a break after this race, though. It will give us a breather to take a look over things as a team and for me as a driver to improve. Some of the other teams are excelling right now, and we need to be right there with them.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): “It’s been an eventful weekend. Very hot and physically demanding for everyone out there with all of the heat and humidity. We had a long day but we got through the start good, ran some clean laps, probably got a little unlucky with the fueling. But other than that, we fought to the end. We brought some decent points home. Not a stellar day, but something that we can build off at the next race.”
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda): “”I gave it everything I had out there for the Barracuda Racing boys.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): “The standing start was OK. The traditional rolling start was more fun for me, to be honest, but I think the fans enjoyed it. It really didn’t change Turn 1 at all. We just struggled again for a little bit of pace, a little bit of grip. We lost a little ground in those middle stints when we were stuck in traffic, but we went quick at the very end, so I’m pretty happy with that. But certainly we want to finish better than we did. It was really physical. This was probably the most physical weekend of racing I have ever had. I’m going to need to drink a lot of fluid tonight.”
JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): “I just hit the curb, and it ripped the wheel straight out of my hands. I’ve seen some wrist injuries in the last few days, and hopefully we can sort that out. The kick-back is unbelievable in these things, and when you aren’t quite dialed in with the dampers, it’s a nightmare. It was a frustrating day. It was up about 10 (degrees) ambient, so it was obviously going to be a bit more physical and hot. I had a good standing start, but I got blocked in again in Turn 1, which is the same story as yesterday. I went to the inside and got hosed. It’s frustrating. The weekend started well. We qualified fifth for the first race but had the penalty, but it ended bad for us. We’ll just head on to Mid-O. My wrist is OK.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “We had a good race going as we were picking cars off one by one. I was able to work my way up to sixth before my last pit stop. We put a set of red Firestone tires on, and I thought we could pass a few more cars since the reds come in a lot better. I had a lap car that started racing me into Turn 1, and then it slid into me, taking my front wing off. Then I got hit in the back of the car, not once, but twice. And they were big hits that did some damage to the rear of the car. I was just happy to finish the race, as it was a little crazy out there today. It was a long-fought race today, and we were able to get another top-10 finish for the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda. Thanks to the team for a fast car and some great pit stops today.”
MIKE CONWAY (No. 18 Sonny’s Honda): “We had a very interesting race today. We started 23rd and were able to work are way up quickly at the start of the race. It was a little strange as we could overtake some cars in certain turns, and then in other turns we would give the spots right back. I’m really interested to see what the data shows from the race. We were able to score another top-10 finish for the No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda today. I must thank Dale Coyne for giving me this opportunity and a great race car this weekend. I am looking forward to being back with the team for the last doubleheader of the season in Houston, but maybe I will be able to be back sooner for Mid-Ohio or Sonoma. Who knows? A big thanks to the entire No. 18 for giving me another great car this weekend in Toronto.”
CHIP GANASSI (Owner, Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “Not bad, three in row. We were 92 points out in Pocono, and now we’re 29 out of the lead. That’s pretty fired up there. The kid is on a roll. It means a lot to us. It’s good for Honda. It’s good for the team, every employee we have in Indianapolis and Charlotte. It pumps everyone up. We’re looking good for Mid-Ohio.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “We were running in the top-10 today all day. It was a lot of work for a very disappointing result in the end. The standing start was great – enjoyed it and moved up a couple places. We didn’t have a yellow until the very end, and we were looking at a good top-10 because the car was much better. Thankfully all the boys and engineers did a great job to get back our speed, but we need to work harder because we’re still behind from the top group. The very last restart was just hectic. I went to Turn 1 very clean on the outside, and a lot of cars in front and on the side and I was boxed in. There was a concertina effect, and I was hit and there was nowhere to go. Very unfortunate.”
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): (About Lap 1 incident): “I was trying not to lose too many positions, and I was on the outside in Turn 1, and we kind of checked up. I just got in the back of Helio, and I couldn’t avoid it. It was just a racing incident – my mistake. After that, qualifying lap was every lap. I came in the pits with the Target boys, and then I was off. It was just as hard as I could go every lap. I mean, the car was really, really good. It’s a real shame because I had a car. It’s been a bit tough today, but I think we had a better car than yesterday. I would’ve liked to have a better go, but I messed it up in the first lap. It was some pretty tough racing out there.” (About two races in two days, with increased heat today): “It’s very tough. I just don’t think that anyone puts any thought in how tough it’s going to be for the drivers to drive these cars. It’s tough, but it’s the same for everybody. I think we’ve all worked a little bit harder to be able to do it.” (About standing start): “Obviously, it sucked because Helio came past both Scott and I. I just thought it was a gimmick. You know, the history of INDYCAR is known for rolling starts. I’m a purist, and I think that’s the way it should be.”
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “We had another good start and run going but had an issue with fueling, which meant I had to pit very early for my second stop and went a lap down. Then I misjudged a pass on the back straight, which took a small piece of the front wing. Then our next stop was earlier than scheduled, as well, to change the wing. I do think our pace was good, though, and we ran so well in the first part of the race. It’s just a shame for the team and VisitFlorida.com. I’m really anxious to put a good result together, but I think maybe I need to stop trying so hard and let the race come to me. We’re going to keep pushing as hard as we can, though.”
UNOFFICIAL IZOD INDYCAR SERIES STANDINGS (after 13 of 19 races):
1. Helio Castroneves 425
2. Scott Dixon 396
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay 356
4. Marco Andretti 355
5. Simon Pagenaud 309
6. Tony Kanaan 307
7. Dario Franchitti 306
8. James Hinchcliffe 305
9. Justin Wilson 296
10. Will Power 273
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Sunday, Aug. 4 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
From Amy Konrath, INDYCAR