BY JIM MILLER WEEKLY INDYCAR WRITER
Will Power (Chevrolet/Team Penske) won Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto giving him his third victory in the last four races and putting him firmly in the season championship competition.
This was Power’s third time winning this physically demanding 1.75-mile temporary street circuit course at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.
Scott Dixon (Chevrolet/Chip Ganassi Racing) led the field from the pole position but within the first two laps the first of five cautions came out when Ryan Hunter-Reay (Honda/Andretti Motorsports) tangled with Charlie Kimball (Chevrolet/Chip Ganassi Racing). Four laps later the second caution came out when Juan Pablo Montoya (Chevrolet/Team Penske) clipped and damaged the rear wheel pod on Josef Newgarden’s car (Chevrolet/Ed Carpenter Racing) spreading debris across the track. All cars continued the race.
Dixon remained up front with Helio Castroneves (Chevrolet/Team Penske) in pursuit until Lap 26 when Castroneves’s front tire went flat forcing him to pit shuffling up the running order. Dixon continued looking like this was his day by building up as much as an eight second lead over Simon Pagenaud (Chevrolet/Team Penske) who was now in second place until Lap 45 when the third full course caution was called due to the temporary asphalt curbing in Turn 5 crumbling requiring extensive repairs to make it reasonable to remain in use.
The race restarted on Lap 50 and again Dixon pulled away from the now freshly-pitted pack bunched up behind him. Unfortunately for him caution number four came out on Lap 58 when Newgarden ran up on the damaged curb in Turn 5 resulting in the steering wheel violently jerking from his hands sending him straight through the turn into the wall. Newgarden was visibly grimacing in pain from the collarbone and wrist fractures he suffered one month ago at Texas Motor Speedway. He was checked out at the infield care center and released.
This caution period caught Dixon one lap earlier than he had planned to pit and as a result found himself cycling through the pits with several other cars and coming out in 13th position.
With 25 laps to go Tony Kanaan (Chevrolet/Chip Ganassi Racing) was now up front but was in a fuel-conservation mode due to his three pit strategy. Power was in second having pitted just before the full-field caution caused by Newgarden’s incident. When Kanaan pitted for a quick splash of fuel with only 10 laps remaining Power assumed the lead.
On lap 80 the fifth caution of the day came when Montoya went to pass Hunter-Reay on the right side entering Turn 5, and rounding the corner found Jack Hawksworth (Honda/A.J. Foyt Enterprises) already in the wall blocking his path. Montoya with nowhere to go was collected into the wall ending his day.
The race got back under way with a one lap dash to the end. Power came in first followed by Castroneves, James Hinchcliffe (Honda/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) took third and Kanaan finished fourth.
The Verizon IndyCar Series now takes a week off before returning for the Honda Indy200 at Mid-Ohio on Sunday, July 31.