7.15.13 – A rundown of Sunday's events at the Indy Toronto…
IZOD IndyCar Series
Making his first standing start since racing in GP2 in 2007, E.J. Viso took the green flag from the straightaway of the 1.75-mile circuit in Toronto from the 10th position. The Caracas, Venezuela native was seen as high as second during the 85-lap race. After multiple full-course caution periods, Viso came to the checkered under the third caution of the day in fifth, the 28-year-old's second top-five finish of 2013; he moves up two positions in the championship points standings to 12th place.
"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."
Marco Andretti drove the Dr Pepper Chevy to a top-10 finish today, his 11th of the season. Now ranked fourth in the championship title fight, Andretti started today's race from the 17th position and took the twin checkers ninth.
"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."
DHL driver Ryan Hunter-Reay entered the weekend second in points and made his first career standing start for today's 85-lap race from the fourth grid position. The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion ran up front throughout the race and was on target for a top-five finish when the No. 1 machine was collected in a Turn 1 incident just two laps before the checkered flag. Hunter-Reay recorded a 19th-place finish as a result of the incident.
"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."
James Hinchcliffe qualified his GoDaddy Chevy into the 11th starting position for today's second round of races on the streets of Toronto; however, made his race start from pit lane following a mechanical failure. Moments before the 24-car field rolled off pit lane to prepare for IndyCar's first standing start, the throttle pedal on the No. 27 stuck, preventing the car from shifting into gear. The GoDaddy crew quickly returned to the pit box and replaced the failed part. Hinchcliffe took the green flag three laps down and recorded a 21st place finish.
"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% and that was about a minute before they gave the command (to start engines). We tried WD40, 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… we were 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."
Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires
Continuing his winning streak, American Matthew Brabham clinched his seventh consecutive win of the season after once again starting on pole. The 19-year-old rookie led every lap on the 11-turn circuit and remains the championship points leader in the 2013 title fight.
"The Andretti Autosport guys are just absolutely amazing guys. I'm just speechless – I'm so psyched about this win. I'm just riding on top of the moon. We had an advantage over everybody, and hopefully we can keep that the rest of the season. But, I'm just going to enjoy it while it lasts because it doesn't happen that often. My dad has been trying to keep me humble, so I'm going to take the wins as they come, but I am so pleased. The track is really grippy right now, so you can really throw the car around. It was so much fun the last couple laps since the IndyCars rubbered it down. The people in Toronto are fantastic, the crowd was out there for our race, so it makes the win that much better."
Pro Mazda Championship rookie Shelby Blackstock finished the doubleheader weekend in Toronto in the seventh position after suffering a clipped front wing during the 25-lap race. The 23-year-old remains third in the championship points fight.
"Obviously not a good finish today. Unfortunately we didn't have the greatest of the standing starts. Throughout the run we lost a couple positions and unfortunate for some drivers not looking in their mirrors nor paying attention to their surroundings, we got our front wing clipped and finished in seventh for the day. Not the greatest of weekends for the No. 28 Starstruck crew, but hopefully we could collect some points and move on to Mosport next weekend. I want to thank all the Andretti Autosport guys for all of their hard work and for giving me a great car."
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda
Garett Grist crossed the finish line in front of his hometown with a solid top-10 finish in Race Two on the streets of Toronto in sixth place. The 18-year-old from Grimsby, Ontario is currently fifth in the championship points standings.
"Today's race was good – we started 11th, made our way up to fifth. But, on the last restart we got nudged wide and fell back to ninth and then I was able to make my way up to sixth in the remaining two or three laps. It was a good finish to an overall up and down weekend; being quickest in practice and then having qualifying issues and race issues in Race One, it was good to make our way up in Race Two and have a good strong race to end the weekend for my hometown race. I have to thank DaVinci Foods, Sofina Foods, Bell Helmets, Alpinestars, Lander Property Management and all the guys at Andretti for all their support and hard work."
Starting in P24 after a racing incident in Race One created little time to turn a fast lap to qualify for Race Two, Austin Cindric came away with his best finish of the season in 13th on the 1.75-mile temporary street course in Toronto; the Mooresville, NC resident was seen as high as eighth during the 21-lap race. Cindric was awarded the Tilton Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions on the grid, and at 14-years-old, becomes the series' youngest winner of the award.
"The Andretti Autosport guys gave me a great Nightrain clothing car for today's race. I think it is really cool to be the youngest to ever win the Tilton Hard Charger Award while bringing home my best finish so far. We were able to pick up 11 spots from where we started and ran as high as eighth; this gives us good momentum going into Mid-Ohio."