Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report - Toronto

July 18, 2016

Track:  Streets of Toronto (11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street course)
Race:  Honda Indy Toronto
Date:  July 17, 2016

No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya

Start:  9th
Finish: 20th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 84/85
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 13th (-153)

Recap: Juan Pablo Montoya started Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto in ninth place, but he was able to weave the No. 2 DeVilbiss Chevrolet toward the front and was challenging the lead group late Sunday when a crash sent him back to pit lane. The time spent on pit road making repairs to the car resulted in a 20th-place finish for Montoya, down one lap to the leaders. Early on, Montoya and the No. 2 Chevy made early contact with the car driven by Josef Newgarden, but that didn’t slow Montoya’s assault on the lead pack. Before the halfway mark of Sunday’s race, Montoya had worked his way inside the top five as he looked to score his best finish since a third-place effort in the first of two events on the Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit. However, the misfortune that has plagued the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion virtually all season reared its ugly head yet again. Just four laps from the end of the race, Montoya got caught up in an accident with Jack Hawksworth that ended his bid for a strong finish.

Quote: “It’s just how this year has gone. What are you going to do? The DeVilbiss Chevrolet was fast. I think we passed more people than anybody and had a great time. It really was a lot of fun. I was in a really great position to get a good finish again and the caution came out and caught us. Then we had a misfire followed by the accident. It’s just how 2016 has gone for us.”

No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start:  2nd
Finish: 2nd  
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  85/85
Laps Led:  0
Points Position: 3rd (-74 pts.)

Recap: Helio Castroneves started second on the grid in Toronto after narrowly missing out on the pole position in Saturday’s qualifying and he pressured polesitter Scott Dixon at the onset of the race with a fast Pennzoil Chevrolet. The day nearly unraveled early when the left front tire on the No. 3 Chevy went down on Lap 25, but Castroneves only dropped to sixth following a trip to pit lane to replace the rubber. That bad luck, however, later turned to good when Castroneves was on a little different sequence than the rest of the field. Just a week after the caution periods fell at the wrong times at Iowa for Castroneves, they were fortuitous this time in Toronto. The final caution of the day presented an opportunity to race teammate Will Power for the win, but Power didn’t falter on the final two trips around the 1.786-mile temporary street course and Castroneves came home with a runner-up result. It marked the third podium finish in 2016 and 89th of Castroneves’ Verizon IndyCar Series career. And it was also the third time the three-time Indy 500 winner has finished second on the streets of Toronto in his 14 career starts. With the second-place result and top fives in three of his last five starts, Castroneves moved into third place in the season standings, now 74 points behind teammate Simon Pagenaud in the standings.

Quote: “I know we didn’t win but I’m smiling because the Pennzoil Chevrolet car was really strong. The thing with the tire was strange. I’ve never had that before on a street course unless you lock it up or something like that. I was pushing, but not hard enough to cause that. I felt the car pulling and the tire just gave up. I’m not sure why. I noticed the (damaged) curb in Turn 5, that could have been a reason. I don’t know. Then, finally, we got a little break on the yellow. It put us back in the position to fight. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to pass so I tried everything I could and in the end I was like, ‘okay this is the chance’ but Will had like six (pushes) to pass. I only had three. It was very difficult to get the tires going but Roger (Penske) and the entire Pennzoil Chevrolet team, man, I’m so proud to be part of this team. These guys are never giving up. Thanks everyone. Let’s keep going. Let’s move to the next one.”

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start:  4th
Finish: 1st (28th career IndyCar victory)
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  85/85
Laps Led:  10
Points Position: 2nd (-47 pts.)

Recap: Will Power recorded his third career Verizon IndyCar Series victory at Toronto by using a timely pit stop to gain track position and he held off teammate Helio Castroneves on a late-race restart to capture the checkered flag. Power started fourth on the grid Sunday in the Verizon Chevrolet and he stayed in the same position throughout the early stages of the race. He moved to third place when Castroneves was forced to pit with a flat tire. The Aussie moved to the third spot as the field cycled through green-flag pit stops. Later in the race some good luck graced Power as he pitted under green just prior to a caution flag which allowed him to stay on the track as nearly the rest of the field came to pit lane. After that round of stops shook out, Power was behind only Tony Kanaan, who was on a different strategy and still needed to make his final stop. However, Power wasn’t home free quite yet. The final caution of the race came out on Lap 82 and track workers were able to clear the track quickly to set up an intense green flag two-lap shootout for the win. Power then had to think about Castroneves right behind him, but he was able to turn two mistake-free laps for the win. It was the third win of the season for Power and the 28th of his Verizon IndyCar Series career which moves him past Johnny Rutherford into sole possession of 13th place on the all-time series wins list. The triumph also vaulted Power into second in the points standings, just 47 markers in back of leader Simon Pagenaud with five races remaining in the 2016 season.

Quote: “The Verizon Chevrolet team is doing a great job, obviously. We’ve been playing catch-up all year but every race we’re executing, getting great strategies, great cars. We’ve just got to keep chipping away, man, keep chipping away and see if we can have a shot at this. Things really worked out for us on that last stop. The team called me in at the last minute. Perfect timing. I can’t tell you how many times it has gone the opposite way for me at this place. I was so stoked to see those yellow lights as I was on pit lane. It’s not often you catch a yellow like that.”

No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start:  3rd
Finish: 9th  
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  85/85
Laps Led:  1
Points Position: 1st – 432 points (+47 pts.)

Recap: Regardless of all the strategy and technology, racing at all levels comes down to luck sometimes and how it swings can make or break a day. Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet qualified third on Saturday in Toronto, which set up another opportunity to stretch his championship lead. However, an ill-timed caution as the field was beginning to cycle through green flag pit stops didn’t do Pagenaud any favors. He was relegated to pitting under caution, which shuffled him from the front to the middle of the field. Up to that point, though, Pagenaud demonstrated the strength of his car, running second throughout much of the race. During the first cycle of pit stops, the French driver led a lap and it marked the ninth time in 11 races this season that he ran at the front of the talented IndyCar field. Pagenaud rallied in the late stages to garner a ninth-place finish – his eighth top-10 result of the season. With the win by Team Penske teammate Will Power, Pagenaud saw his lead in points shrink to 47 over Power with Helio Castroneves lurking 74 points back.

Quote: “The PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet was much stronger than what the results showed. It’s really unfortunate. I was really happy that I was able to run second for most of the race. We trimmed the car great midway through the race and it was really strong at the end, but unfortunately we got caught on the last yellow and that shuffled us to the back. We were able to get back inside the top 10, which was a great performance. We lost quite a bit of points today, but overall the performance is there. It’s there every week. That’s the silver lining to see how competitive we are. So, we go to Mid-Ohio, which is a track that suits us very well. I’m very excited about it.”