TORONTO – Friday wasn’t a good day for Team America in Toronto, which had Canadian James Hinchcliffe gloating at the expense of his American friend Conor Daly.
While in town for the Canadian International Auto Show this weekend, the two Verizon IndyCar Series drivers are taking in NBA All-Star Weekend activities that included the Feb. 12 Canada vs. America Celebrity Game at Ricoh Coliseum, located on the streets INDYCAR races on every summer for the Honda Indy Toronto.
By the final buzzer, Team Canada – coached by Drake and led by Arcade Fire front man Win Butler and seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady – outscored Team America, coached by comedian and film star Kevin Hart, 74-64.
Early on, Hinchcliffe predicted the win insisting, “The three reasons why Canada’s gonna win: A, we invented basketball; B, we’re already leading and C, we got Drake.”
Daly hung his American hopes on four-time Celebrity Game MVP Hart, who said he had returned as coach “not for myself but my country” and, before the game, added that America would “crush Canada.” After trailing most of the game despite a good effort by former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Jason Sudeikis, Hart’s late-game strategy was to suit up and try to score a few points himself.
But nothing helped and Daly was left listening to Hinch’s maniacal laughter as they headed out of the coliseum.
“You’re embarrassing us,” Daly told Hinchcliffe.
There was nothing embarrassing about the party clothes they turned up in an hour later, heading for their red carpet appearance at Maxim Magazine’s All-Star Game bash. Hinchcliffe was sporting a polka dot bowtie and Daly was in a dark suit accessorized by a “Badass Wilson” lapel pin, in honor of late Indy car driver Justin Wilson.
The late-night party at MuZik nightclub (also located along the Honda Indy Toronto racetrack layout) was hosted by retired NBA great Shaquille O’Neal. Snoop Dogg (pictured at right with Hinchcliffe) showed up to perform and hundreds of Maxim models mingled with guests, who were surrounded by free cocktails and champagne flutes. Overhead, in the center of the dance floor, hung a giant disco ball that continually raised and lowered inside a net sculpture.
Hinchcliffe and Daly were VIPs at the event – a designation that got them their own party space with a bottle service.
“It’s cool to be here and cool to be a part of it,” said Daly. “We’re here to party so, I’m excited.”
The Honda Indy Toronto, July 15-17, is the 12th race on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule that kicks off with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11-13 and includes the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 29.
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