The NTT IndyCar Series will take to the track for the pre-race warm-up session in just about an hour, followed by the drop of the green flag at 3:42 p.m. Eastern. What can we look for in today as 22 cars careen through the streets of Toronto?
Can anyone catch Simon Pagenaud? The Team Penske driver has been looking at the rest of the field through his rear view mirror all weekend, dominating all three practice sessions and in Saturday qualifying when he captured his second pole of the season. He’s the driver to beat today as he starts a final push towards a championship.
The run to the championship starts today. Thankfully, IndyCar doesn’t have some sort of contrived playoff system, but we are reaching the knockout stage of the season where drivers still in touch with points leader Josef Newgarden have to start making something happen if they want to stay in the running for the Astor Cup. Scott Dixon, who is 94 points back, Will Power (108 points) and Takuma Sato (110 points) are three drivers who need to make their moves while also getting a little help to hang in there.
Where’s Power? Though he sits fifth in points, Power is definitely having a less-than-Will-Power-type season. His only two poles came in the first two races of the year at St. Pete and Circuit of The Americas, and has yet to score his first win of the year. In fact, he has only won only once since winning the 2018 Indy 500 and has led only 74 laps in 2019. He looked to have righted the ship at Road America, where he started third and finished second, but he goes off 15th today after failing to advance out of the first round of qualifying at a street circuit in over four years.
Qualifying was an absolute battle, as 20 of the 22 drivers broke 60 seconds, and the Firestone Fast Six saw four drivers go under 59 seconds. The streets of Toronto are rough and bumpy, there are several different pavement types, and the concrete walls are really, really close. The drivers seem to like racing here, but it’s going to be a long day for them.
Alexander Rossi said that at a track like this, everyone is going to make at least one big mistake, and the driver that makes the fewest mistakes will win. Toronto always has the possibility for lots of broken cars and carnage, as we saw here in 2018:
So with that in mind, here we go:
Podium: Pagenaud, Dixon, Rossi
Biggest movers: James Hinchcliffe (Starting 14th) and Sage Karam (Starting 21st)
Enjoy the race!
Photo credit: James Black/IndyCar Media