TORONTO – On a milestone day in his career, Marco Andretti hopes to make some history in the Honda Indy Toronto.
When the third-generation Indy car driver takes the green flag in Sunday afternoon’s race (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network), it will mark his 212th consecutive start. That will move Andretti past Jimmy Vasser into third place for the longest consecutive race streak in Indy car history.
HONDA INDY TORONTO: Warmup practice results; Combined practice results
What’s more impressive is that Andretti hasn’t missed a race since his Verizon IndyCar Series debut at the 2006 season opener, making the 31-year-old the owner of the longest streak to start a career in the sport’s history. Following Sunday morning’s final warmup practice on the Toronto temporary street course, Andretti admitted he wasn’t even aware of the significance of the pending race start.
“I have to give that one to the man upstairs,” Andretti said after posting the fourth-best lap in the warmup, 59.5365 seconds (107.994 mph), in the No. 98 Oberto Circle K/Curb Honda. “I’ve been just really lucky as far as being unscathed, being healthy. And obviously, having the sponsors to be able to do it.”
Andretti is confident heading into the race. He ran in the top five in three of the four practice sessions this weekend on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile street circuit. But a miscalculation in Verizon P1 Award qualifying on Saturday saddled the Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian driver with 14th place on the starting grid.
“We’ve been quick all weekend,” Andretti said. “We just kind of screwed the pooch in qualifying. We went too early on reds (Firestone alternate tires), and by the time our tires were peaking, the track was just getting good. We missed it but luckily you can pass here, and I think we’re going to the front.”
Championship leader Scott Dixon was quickest in the warmup with a lap of 59.1394 seconds (108.719 mph) in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon, who will start second in the race, was fastest in three practices this weekend and blamed himself for making a mistake in qualifying that kept him from winning the pole.
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who will start first in the 85-lap race, was second quick in the warmup in the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet (59.3684 seconds, 108.300 mph). Newgarden is the defending race winner and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion. He is second in the 2018 standings, 32 points behind Dixon.
The only incident of the warmup occurred when Jordan King hit the wall at the exit of Turn 8 in the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. King was uninjured and said afterward that the damage on the car was “not too bad.”