Advancement and setbacks are intertwined when racing on the 1.755-mile street circuit at Exhibition Place.
Rain, which created slippery conditions on the concrete sections of the racing surface during Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader July 20, heightened the car control necessary to negotiate the 11 turns with barriers on either side of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers.
Multiple drivers who remained unaffected by on-track incidents during the 80-minute contest reaped solid results. Possibly none was more welcome than the fifth place recorded by Takuma Sato, driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing.
Sato, who started 22nd in the 23-car field based on entrant points, had retired early in Race 1 because of contact to extend the team’s streak to six consecutive DNFs. Maybe the horseshoe brought across the border from Foyt’s ranch in Texas helped after all. It was Sato’s first top-five finish through 14 races.
"We've been unlucky but we bounced back strong and finishing as the highest Honda-powered car makes me proud,” said Sato, a two-time Verizon P1 Award winner this season. “The race was really tricky going from the dry to wet to dry tires. We never lost our motivation (despite the poor results). I really enjoyed this race, and hopefully we'll be strong the rest of the season."
Charlie Kimball, driving the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing car, was the biggest mover overall to score a pair of top-10 finishes. He advanced 11 positions relative to his starting spot secured through qualifications to finish seventh in Race 1 and improved 12 positions to finish fourth in Race 2.
“When it really mattered there at the end, the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet was quick,” said Kimball, who registered his fourth top-five finish of the season and moved from 16th to 13th in the championship standings. “It was tough conditions with the rain and concrete patches on the track, but we were able to push through all of the elements and make some passes at the right times. I’ll take the fourth place, especially heading into Mid-Ohio.”
Kimball earned his first Verizon IndyCar Series win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last August. He’ll be among 21 drivers testing on the 2.2-mile road course July 24.
Series rookie Jack Hawksworth advanced 12 positions to finish sixth in Race 2 – his fourth top 10 of the season – in the No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins car for BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian, and Will Power gained 14 positions in Race 1 to finish ninth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske entry. Starting on the front row in Race 2, Power finished third to Mike Conway, who started 11th in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car for Ed Carpenter Racing. It was his second win of the season.
Also of note is twin top-10 finishes posted by Justin Wilson in the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing car. He advanced five spots in Race 2.