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Toronto - Sunday - Close

Posted on 7/20  • 

It was pointed out by Tristan Vautier today on Twitter that it was a pretty good day to be French today.

Florian Latorre, who finished second and first in the USF2000 races? French.

Alex Baron, who won the Lights race? French.

Sebastien Bourdais, who won the first Verizon IndyCar race of the day? French.

There's one exception to that, though. That would be Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, who did not have a good day. He lost 21 points today to Helio Castroneves and is now 71 points behind in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar championship.

Ryan Hunter-Reay is American, but he also lost ground in the stands. He came in 32 points back, but bad finishes in both races mean that deficit is over twice as large now.

Here's the top ten in points, along with the deficit each car faces to leader Helio Castroneves.

Castroneves 533 -
Power 520 -13
Hunter-Reay 464 -69
Pagenaud 462 -71
Montoya 428 -105
Dixon 387 -146
Munoz 384 -149
Kanaan 380 -153
Andretti 375 -158
Bourdais 358 -175
Briscoe 344 -189

Do Will Power or Tony Kanaan think it will come down to the two Penske cars? Kanaan was emphatic that it would be more than just Castroneves and Power at the finale at Auto Club Speedway.

But one of the non-Penske cars sure seems like it's going to have to hit a hot streak to make a serious title run... or the Penske cars are going to hit a rough patch at the worst possible time.

Race Report: Honda Indy Toronto

Posted on 7/21  • 

Since qualifying was cancelled due to running Race 1 on Sunday morning, the field was lined up according to entrant points for Race 2. Sato, who hadn't finished a race in his last five outings due to various factors, had to start 22nd.

Through a combination of a unique pit strategy, savvy driving by Sato and quick pit stops by the ABC Supply boys, Sato advanced through the field. However, the rain started 10 laps into the race. By lap 15 nearly the entire field had pitted for rain tires during a full course caution for a three-car accident in Turn 8. At that point Sato was 18th.

He kept his cool even as others about him were losing theirs and ending up in tire barriers. Several drive-through penalties levied against other drivers eased his advance into the top 10. By lap 35 he was ninth. Soon after, the rain stopped and the track began drying out. He pitted with the leaders to put on new red alternate tires on lap 46 but dropped to 15th.

However, he was able to gain positions when the race restarted on lap 48. By lap 50 he was 12th. When five cars tangled in Turn 3 on lap 51, Sato was able to barely sneak by on the inside. The track was blocked so the race was stopped to clear off or restart the cars.

When the race resumed with three laps to go, Sato was fifth and he was able to hold onto that spot despite having a damaged front wing.

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INDYCAR News from around the Internet:

IndyCar - IndyCar: Vasser says KV "dynamics" hampered de Silvestro (Jul 10, 2014 11:48)
"The dynamic we had last year wasn't the best for the team or for Simona," said Vasser. "She is a fantastic driver and we'd hoped that things would have been better last year. "In a sense this year has been a rebuilding exercise in trying to bring the two sides together better as one team. And it's still difficult. I can sit here and tell you what happened at Ganassi in those years, and I felt like I was a part of making that happen. But it's so difficult to make happen. I can't wave my wand and say, 'Boys, this is what you've gotta do.' "It's so hard to do that, especially from outside the car. It's got to come from the pilots, and they set the example for the whole team."

IndyCar returns to Pocono with practice for Saturday's IndyLights race - themorningcall.com (Jul 5, 2014 09:31)
Brandon said his comments "may have come across harsher than I anticipated, but it got the point across. People want me to be honest, well, I was honest. I am a race fan. I want a race in the Northeast. "Pennsylvania has more race tracks than any other state in the country, except California. New York, New Jersey … they have huge race fan populations. And the Poconos are the No. 2 destination in the state behind Philadelphia. So, the people are here. We just need them to come out." Nick Igdalsky, Pocono's executive vice president and chief operating officer, reminded that while their family features race fans, they're still running a business. "We're a family business when it comes down to it," he said. "We have people to answer to and it's got to work out for everybody. We don't want to hold IndyCar back either. We know it's an important market for them. We're doing everything we can to make it work."

IndyCar - IndyCar: Hulman Motorsports CMO, C.J. O’Donnell on marketing the Verizon IndyCar Series (Jun 26, 2014 09:50)
Q: One of the criticisms regularly aimed at IndyCar’s marketing people in the past – and this was also aimed at marketing departments of IRL, Champ Car and CART, I guess because at some point we all hurt the ones we love – was that there was too much focus on the short term and not enough forethought shown for 12, 18 or 24 months down the road. How do you improve that? A: Well let’s talk on a philosophical level first. We need to be faster, more innovative and daring in the way we conduct our business. And it’s appropriate because those are the words we attribute to the brand itself. As a company and a culture, we need to continue to push the envelope and take the same kind of risks we took by re-inventing May. So that’s definitely what’s required to restart this sport and re-engage our fans. From the marketing and communication standpoint, all our brand studies and research results point to the fact that we need to 1) thrill our fans and 2) champion our heroes. Our entire business plan for the next year or two really surrounds defining the IndyCar brand for everything that it is – an absolutely first-grade form of motorsport, the most innovative in the U.S. today. Every time we engage a fan, we need to have the hair stand up on the back of their neck, get their hearts racing, get the adrenaline flowing. And then we need to elevate the personalities, the celebrity level, of our driver athletes. There’s probably little future for IndyCar if we can’t promote the drivers to the fans and then the broader public. People will not tune in each weekend to track our progress if they don’t emotionally engage with the driver behind the wheel. So that’s central to our thinking, that’s what drives our team each day. Now there are 100 little things that make those aims become reality but those are our twin pillars.

Compressed schedule coming to Mid-Ohio in 2014 | Mansfield News Journal (Jun 16, 2014 11:07)
Mid-Ohio’s two largest spectator eventsboth happen in August with just a weekend between the two. The Verizon IndyCar Series comes to town Aug. 1 to 3 for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio with the NASCAR Nationwide Series returning for the second time two weeks later. “They are our two biggest. They draw the most fans. It’s hard to say come out the first weekend and the third weekend of August,” Rust said. “Fortunately the two fan bases are different, but it’s still two big events two weeks apart. “Logistically it makes it difficult. The staff does a great job of preparing so we can execute.”

IndyCar team co-owner pays $35,000 for Jacques Villenueve's Indianapolis 500 helmet - Autoweek (Jun 4, 2014 15:15)
This is a rare piece of motorsports memorabilia, as Villeneuve only five times previously in his career gave away one of his helmets -- and never did so after a major race, according to Peterson. Of course, it's a bit strange to see a co-owner of the team who put Villeneuve into the race having to bid on the helmet, but Peterson enjoyed the process. “He doesn't typically give away his helmets, but this was a great cause and made sense,” Peterson said.

Why proper aerodynamic package is key to exciting race at TMS | Dallas Morning News (Jun 4, 2014 15:14)
“If they put it back in the drivers’ hands and the good drivers are up at the front where they should be and the poseurs are at the back, it’s fine,’’ Power said during tire testing at TMS in April. “Don’t put it back into a big pack of people, and you get some poseur beside you who doesn’t want to race.’’ The series has given teams the option of adding about 300 pounds of downforce over last year’s maximum. That puts the field closer to the 2012 specifications, which produced a high-quality race.

How Kurt Busch got around Chevy conflict while driving a Honda - NASCAR - Sporting News (May 30, 2014 08:34)
Typically, Busch has a Haas Automation logo on the front of his firesuit. But the team looked for some way to thank Chevrolet for allowing Busch to drive a Honda at Indy, and this was it. This wasn’t a negotiated part of the deal, team officials say, just a way to thank a longtime partner.

IndyCar - IndyCar: Barfield explains his calls and non-calls at Long Beach (Apr 15, 2014 16:47)
No penalties were handed down for the contact between Will Power and Simon Pagenaud or Justin Wilson and Scott Dixon, which left some competitors and fans scratching their collective heads. "We said before the season began that we were going to change the way we officiate and take more of a hands-off approach," said Barfield (LEFT). "And I think that's what you saw last Sunday."

Franchitti’s enforced retirement will have hit him hard - The Scotsman (Nov 27, 2013 11:05)
Franchitti’s decision to step away from racing, undoubtedly sad as it is, ensures, thankfully, that he will be around for years to come to talk in his knowledgeable, animated and enthusiastic way about his comprehensive collection of Jim Clark memorabilia. Of more immediate concern for him is whether his beloved Celtic can make it through the group stages in the Champions League. Franchitti has always been quick to play down his achievements in motorsport and has laughed when the word ‘legacy’ has been mentioned. Now the man, who has the most deeply ingrained affinity with motorsport’s heritage of any current racing driver, knows he must reinvent his life. It will take time. Franchitti has committed himself fully to his love of the sport, and this latest development is still way too raw for any new plans to be announced. In the meantime, he can slowly begin to accept how highly his achievements have been recognised by his motorsport peers, and concentrate on making a full recovery.

Dario Franchitti, Safety, And Barrier Differences in Houston - Paddock Pundit - Road & Track (Oct 15, 2013 10:16)
The questionable vehicle-retaining properties of the FIA-spec fencing used at Houston is where I’ve turned my attention. The same grate-style fencing is used at other IndyCar street courses, with Toronto and Baltimore featuring these rigid sections affixed to poles mounted in the cement barriers lining the track. The 8000-pound cement sections, as used for the street courses, are most commonly found with three vertical holes in them—one on each end and one in the middle. With the poles installed, a sheet of fencing is attached to the outer face. Those pre-fab sections are then joined together by additional poles and an interlocking hook-and-groove system. Coming from Baltimore in early September to Houston a little over a month later, the barriers and fencing looked like they’d been trucked from Maryland to Texas. There was nothing terribly unfamiliar about the barriers in Houston, except for one item: they were missing the center poles. Center poles were in place at Toronto, and again at Baltimore. For whatever reason, and I genuinely don’t know why—the series is conducting an investigation and, as one would expect, they will not comment—the track builders at Houston didn’t install the center poles.