2012 Toronto Indy Wrapup

The top level of open-wheel racing in North America went to Toronto for the 26th time this weekend. This weekend was a complete change from the previous IndyCar races around Exhibition Place in Toronto. The car was new, the engines were new and the crew in race control were new. Twenty-five cars raced around the streets of Toronto for the first of two Canadian stops on the IndyCar calendar led by Canadian drivers James Hinchcliffe and Alex Tagliani.

Lowdown Live Blog

12:50 PM – We’re about 10 minutes away from the green flag of the Toronto Indy. It’s 85 laps around a 1.75-mile circuit at Exhibition Place.

12:52 PM – Final practice was held this morning. Top five: Dixon, Pagenaud, Conway, RHR & Kimball. Canadians: Tagliani 8th, Hinchcliffe 20th.

12:53 PM – Starting grid: Franchitti, Power, Wilson, Bourdais, Dixon, RHR, Castroneves, Pagenaud, Sato, Rahal. Tag is 16th & Hinch 19th.

12:55 PM – Robert Herjavec from ABC’s Shark Tank gives the command to start engines. Nobody tell ABC that CBC’s Dragon’s Den is better.
[This is what happens when you let the TV broadcaster decide who gets to give the command. At least TSN2 didn’t send Alyokna Larionov or some other marginal talent to the race.]

1:01 PM – And we are GO for the Toronto Indy!

1:02 PM – Dixon gets by Bourdais for 4th in Turn 1. Wilson around power at T3 for 2nd.

1:06 PM – Power has gotten by Wilson for 2nd into T3 (not shown live on TV). Now he’s right up Franchitti’s gearbox.

1:07 PM – Lap 6: Will Power outbrakes Franchitti into Turn 3 and immediately starts pulling out a gap.

1:11 PM – Problem on Lap 9. Scott Dixon’s engine has broken. He was running in 4th before it failed.

1:19 PM – The first round of pit stops are underway. Pagenaud, Briscoe, Tag, Barrichello, Viso & Hinch have all stopped by lap 17.

1:22 PM – Lap 19: Rahal & Kimball collide in T3. Kimball noses into tires but bumps just hard enough to bounce off & drive away w/o damage.

1:25 PM – Pit stops have scrambled the order. Wilson was 3rd before pit stops. After stopping, he’s fallen behind Hinch (14th before stops).

1:26 PM – Lap 24: Graham Rahal has put the car in the wall in Turn One and broken the right-front. Drove in too fast and wrecked it himself.

1:30 PM – Lap 26: Leaders pitting under caution. The top seven cars hadn’t stopped yet. Franchitti has a long stop b/c of fueling troubles.
[Interestingly, IndyCar didn’t leave the pits open during the caution. They’ve been changing their pit road rules with cautions this season. I thought the pits stayed open or they’d give the leaders a chance to stop before going full-course yellow. Still, it’s better than calling a penalty because of seeing the wrong replay.]

1:32 PM – Running order after 27 of 85 laps: Pagenaud, Briscoe, RHR, Hinch, Wilson, Sato, Servia, Kimball, Kanaan

1:35 PM – Hinchcliffe is in the pits as the field restarts. The engine cover comes off. His hopes for the win are done.

1:36 PM – Up front, the double-file restart has changed the running order. After Lap 30: Pagenaud, RHR, Kanaan, Briscoe, Sato.

1:39 PM – Lap 33: Hunter-Reay (2nd) has a long train of cars behind him. He leads a 10-car group covered by 5 seconds.

1:45 PM – Lap 39: It’s now official. James Hinchcliffe retires from the Toronto Indy. That’s his second-straight retirement.

1:49 PM – We’ve crossed the halfway point at the end of lap 43 of 85. It’s Pagenaud, RHR, Kanaan, Wilson, Briscoe

1:55 PM – Lap 49: Barrichello is 1st of drivers who stopped early to pit again. There’s 37 laps to go which is too far to stretch fuel.

1:56 PM – Lap 50: Pagenaud and Franchitti are in next. If there are about 6 to 8 laps of caution, they might just make it on fuel.

1:59 PM – Lap 52: Oriol Servia pits. He went 33 laps (4 under caution) in this last stint. There are 33 laps to go in the race.

2:00 PM – Lap 54: Justin Wilson pits from 2nd. He went 33 laps on this stint. Equivalent of about 31 laps under green. 31 laps to go.
[The rough formula is two laps under caution uses one green flag lap of fuel. So 29 green and 4 caution laps equals 31 green flag laps.]

2:02 PM – Lap 55: Hunter-Reay pits for what we expect to be his final pit stop. JR Hildebrand leads but has gone 29 laps since last pitting.

2:04 PM – Lap 57: Will Power has a flat left-front tire & limps back to the pits. Tire change only. No fuel. Damaged left of front wing.
[Replays showed Power just touching the back of Newgarden’s car which damaged the wing. Later, it fell off and went under Will’s left-front tire which caused the puncture.]

2:12 PM – With 20 laps to go, Hunter-Reay leads Kanaan by 4 seconds. Wilson is slow on track. He was 5th.

2:15 PM – Wilson has retired from the race. ABC reports that the car lost power then showed Wilson tapping the wall w/ right-rear.
[IndyCar officially listed the cause of Wilson’s retirement as “contact” as a result of the suspension damage.]

2:17 PM – 15 laps to go: RHR is good on fuel and ahead by 6.5 seconds. Kanaan is one lap short. Pagenaud is tight on fuel.

2:20 PM – Charlie Kimball goes ham and passes both Kanaan and Pagenaud by ducking down the inside in Turn 3.

2:21 PM – Kanaan is plummeting down the order as he saves fuel. Newgarden goes by him and Briscoe follows through in that gap.

2:22 PM – It’s 10 laps to go. Running order: RHR, Kimball, Pagenaud, Newgarden, Briscoe, Barrichello, Kanaan, Bourdais, Servia, Helio.

2:26 PM – Lap 79: Newgarden slides into the Turn 3 tire wall while trying to pass Pagenaud. He’s stuck and we have a full-course caution.

2:30 PM – We’ll restart with 3 to go. It’s RHR, Kimball, Bourdais, Servia, Conway.

2:31 PM – Kimball looks like he jumped the curb in T1 and slammed into Bourdais. Barrichello spins. And there’s a traffic jam in T3.

2:32 PM – Briscoe and Franchitti crashed into Turn 3. Carpenter, Pagenaud and Jakes look to have stacked up.

2:33 PM – Kimball squeezed Conway who bumped into Charlie and into Bourdais. And it was Andretti, not Jakes, who was in the Turn 3 crash.

2:35 PM – Checkered flag! Ryan Hunter-Reay wins the Toronto Indy. It’s his third race win in a row. He now leads the championship by 34 pts.

2:36 PM – Top ten: RHR, Kimball, Conway, Kanaan, Servia, Castroneves, Hildebrand, Jakes, Sato & Tagliani. Kimball’s best career finish.

2:37 PM – 11th to 20th: Barrichello, Pagenaud, Newgarden, Bourdais, Power, Andretti, Franchitti, Carpenter, Briscoe, Viso.

2:38 PM – The final 5 drivers did not finish: Wilson (contact), Hinchcliffe (engine), Rahal (contact), de Silvestro (engine), Dixon (engine)

Driver Reactions

https://twitter.com/MarcoAndretti/status/222050744122081280

Race Results

  1. #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay
  2. #83 Charlie Kimball
  3. #14 Mike Conway
  4. #11 Tony Kanaan
  5. #22 Oriol Servia
  6. #3 Helio Castroneves
  7. #4 J.R. Hildebrand
  8. #19 James Jakes
  9. #15 Takuma Sato
  10. #98 Alex Tagliani
  11. #8 Rubens Barrichello
  12. #77 Simon Pagenaud
  13. #67 Josef Newgarden (-1 lap)
  14. #7 Sebastien Bourdais (-1 lap)
  15. #12 Will Power (-1 lap)
  16. #26 Marco Andretti (-1 lap)
  17. #10 Dario Franchitti (-1 lap)
  18. #2 Ryan Briscoe (-1 lap)
  19. #20 Ed Carpenter (-1 lap)
  20. #5 EJ Viso (-4 laps)
  21. #18 Justin Wilson (DNF, -18 laps, Contact)
  22. #27 James Hinchcliffe (DNF, -57 laps, Engine)
  23. #38 Graham Rahal (DNF, -62 laps, Contact)
  24. #78 Simona de Silvestro (DNF, -76 laps, Engine)
  25. #9 Scott Dixon (DNF, -78 laps, Engine)

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