Rossi, Hinchcliffe Score Podium Results for Honda in Toronto
• Alexander Rossi seizes early opportunity, nets second-place finish
• Hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe repeats third-place run from 2016
• Ill-timed caution costs Graham Rahal, opening-lap contact hinders Scott Dixon
TORONTO, Ont. (July 16, 2017) – Honda’s Alexander Rossi took advantage of an early pit-stop call from his Andretti Autosport team and used it to his best advantage on Sunday, finishing second at the Honda Indy Toronto. Local favorite and Toronto native son James Hinchcliffe also recorded a popular Verizon IndyCar Series podium finish by taking third in front of the large crowd on hand at the Exhibition Place temporary street circuit.
Rossi and Hinchcliffe were among a half-dozen Honda drivers – along with eventual race winner Josef Newgarden – who made their first scheduled pit stops during Laps 20-22 of the 85-lap contest. As a result, they were in position to cycle to the front of the field when a crash from Tony Kanaan brought out a full-course caution on Lap 22.
The rest of the 21-car starting field, including early contender Graham Rahal and Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato, made their first pit stops after the field was gathered up by the safety car, and then returned to the circuit behind those who had made earlier stops.
With no major incidents – and with rain that had threatened to fall much of the day holding off until after the checkers – those who made the early pit stops remained in command for the balance of the race. Rossi’s runner-up finish is his first podium result of 2017, and his best IndyCar Series finish since winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500.
For Toronto’s Hinchcliffe, the third-place finish repeated his Toronto result from 2016, and is his 13th career IndyCar podium, to go along with five victories. Marco Andretti took the checkers in fourth, his best result since finishing sixth at Texas Motor Speedway in June, with his Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay finishing sixth and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Max Chilton, eighth.
Rahal started on the outside of the front row, second, but was one of those who had yet to pit when the Lap 22 caution flag waved. As a result, he fell back to 16th place, but fought back to finish ninth.
Championship points leader Scott Dixon was another Honda driver to battle back after a fraught opening lap. Contact with Will Power forced Dixon to pit his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda with a damaged rear tire and suspension. Resuming at the rear of the field, Dixon battled to 10th at the finish.
Video recaps from this weekend’s Honda IndyCar Series racing activities in Toronto are available on the “Honda Racing/HPD” YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
The Verizon IndyCar Series now takes a week off before returning to one of Honda’s “home” events, the July 30 Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. With multiple nearby Honda manufacturing, corporate and R&D facilities, thousands of Honda associates will be on hand to cheer for their favorite Honda IndyCar drivers.
Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport Honda) started 8th, finished 2nd, first podium result of 2017: “We were struggling at the start of the weekend, really at the bottom of the barrel. We were really lost. We were the slowest of Andretti Autosport cars. We did a lot of soul searching Friday night. We really analyzed everything we could, and made some pretty solid changes overnight that suited me really well the rest of the weekend. Today, again we made a pretty big step forward. It’s a huge relief to finally get a podium and get it off our back. Something we’ve been close to, and searching for, a long time, and it hasn’t happened. Finally, we made the right calls [today] and made it. I’m thankful to the team for that opportunity. Now I hope to go on to Mid-Ohio and get a win.”
James Hinchcliffe (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) started 6th, finished 3rd, third podium finish of 2017: “This result is so great for the team. We really struggled on the reds [Firestone alternate tires], and the yellow [flag] just came at the right time. But we had the pace at the end there. We were catching Alexander [Rossi] and Josef [Newgarden] in that last stint. The car really came alive on the blacks [primary tires], so big thanks to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, all the Arrow Electronics guys – great stops — and all the fans in Toronto. The support we feel each and every year is amazing. You guys are the best! You came even when the weather wasn’t looking awesome, and hung out with us and we appreciate it. So thanks to all of you guys. Next year, maybe [we’ll finish] a couple of spots better.”
Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race: “After winning four street circuit races this year, it’s hard to complain about a 2-3-4 finish today, and seven in the top ten. And we’re still leaving here with Scott [Dixon] continuing to lead the drivers’ championship and heading to Mid-Ohio, where he has proven to be be very difficult to beat! Congratulations to Alexander [Rossi] and Marco [Andretti] on their season-best finishes, and of course, congratulations to “Hinch” [James Hinchcliffe] who put on a show for his hometown fans with a second-consecutive podium finish here.”