Honda Indy Toronto Practice 1 results
TORONTO -- Favorite son and two-time Toronto race winner Paul Tracy says that the call of Indy car drivers past is the same as it is today on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit: "I don't have enough grip."
Tracy, now an analyst for NBCSN's telecasts of the Honda Indy Toronto (5 p.m. ET June 13 qualifications and 3 p.m. ET June 14 race), said that the transitions from asphalt to slippery concrete in some corners will be the biggest challenge for drivers throughout the weekend.
“It’s always a very tricky course because the amount of concrete-to-pavement transitions on the track is a really difficult thing to get a handle on,” added Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. “I think we are up to the task, for sure, but I always find this track difficult because of the variation in speed of the corners and the bumps that exist mid-corner due to pavement changes.”
Rahal was among the 23 Verizon IndyCar Series drivers who turned laps in the first of two scheduled practices for the Honda Indy Toronto, attempting to discover the mechanical grip that will pay dividends in the three rounds of knockout qualifications and in the race. With a rain-soaked racing surface, no entries completed a full lap in the second session that was checkered with 26 minutes of the scheduled 45-minute practice left.
Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Juan Pablo Montoya recorded the day's quickest lap at 1:00.6343 in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet. Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud was second on the time chart (1:00.7922) in the No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet, followed by CFH Racing teammates Josef Newgarden (1:00.8363) and Luca Filippi (1:00.8500). Sebastien Bourdais, who won Race 1 of the doubleheader last year, was fifth (1:00.8620) in the No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet.
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power (1:00.8656) was sixth quick in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and teammate Helio Castroneves (1:00.8788) was seventh in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. The top 11 cars were separated by a half-second, and the gap between Newgarden (third) and Rahal (eighth) was less than a tenth of a second.
"It's a very tight field, which is amazing. So it's definitely going to be competitive," said Castroneves, who has finished second in the past three races in Toronto.
Montoya, who takes a 25-point advantage over Power into the 85-lap race, said his focus remains on the next race.
"You can't focus on points, you have to focus on executing every weekend and if things work out well then we look good," Montoya said. "It's exciting to be in my second year back and leading the points though it doesn't guarantee anything. So far it's been a good season and I think we have really good cars in Toronto. We went out, didn't get in many laps because we had a problem with the brakes, but the speed was there. It's encouraging, but with the rain it just makes it hard because it washes away any rubber we put down and tomorrow we have to start from zero."
Gil de Ferran holds the track one-lap qualifying record of 57.143 seconds set in 1999 -- the season Montoya won the CART championship. He started eighth and finished 22nd in the 95-lap race. De Ferran crashed and finished 19th.
Watch practice (10:40 a.m. ET) and qualifications (2:30 p.m.) June 13 on Racecontrol.indycar.com, augmented by real-time Timing & Scoring and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcast.