Sunday, July 12, 2009

Honda Indy Toronto Race Reactions

The IndyCar Series finished their 10th race of the 2009 season by completing 85 laps on the streets of Toronto. Dario Franchitti captured his third win of season and also moved into first place in the point’s championship. Ryan Briscoe captured his fifth second place finish of the season and stayed in the hunt for the point’s championship. Will Power finished third in his first race back since the Indy 500. Scott Dixon and Justin Wilson rounded out the top five. IndyCarGarage breaks down six race reactions from the Honda Indy Toronto.

1. Another Ganassi win and along with another HUGE break

Dario Franchitti caught a huge break as he was preparing to make his final pit stop, the yellow came out. League officials allowed him to complete his pit stop and therefore securing his spot in the front of the field and allowing Franchitti to stay at the top after everyone cycled through for more pit stops. Franchitti definitely had a good car and was driving very well throughout the entire race, but had he not caught the caution break, he might have had to race from mid-pack in order to win. Give credit to Ganassi Racing, they have two of the top drivers in the IndyCar Series and continue to dominate in all areas of IndyCar racing.

2. Race leaders and new names toward the front

Alex Tagliani, Tomas Scheckter, Paul Tracy, Mario Moraes, and Will Power were all drivers that lead laps or were running toward the front of the pack throughout different stages of the race. This is not only good for the drivers and teams themselves, but for the series as well, because most of the 2009 season has been dominated by the main four of Dixon, Franchitti, Castroneves, and Briscoe. All of the drivers mentioned above should be back for Edmonton and hopefully more races after that as well, look for all of them to make their presences felt.

3. Paul Tracy and Helio Castroneves

Paul Tracy and Helio Castroneves were battling for position two on lap 66 as Tracy went in for the pass, they got tangled and ultimately ended the day for both drivers. Tracy appeared to have the car to catch Franchitti and also had the support of all the home-town fans. Castroneves now trails by a steep 78 points in the championship race and appears to have lost his May swagger. Paul Tracy needs to be in the IndyCar series full time as he is a great driver with a lot of fans and brings immediate story lines to the IndyCar Series. Look for the series to push this incident in the media over the course of the next race.

4. Finally a break for Ryan-Hunter Reay

Ryan-Hunter Reay finally got a break in this race, as he captured his best finish (7th) since the season-opener at St. Pete. Hunter-Reay is in his fourth race for A.J. Foyt Racing as he is on loan from Vision Racing for the remainder of the season. Hunter-Reay has brought sponsorship in the form of IZOD and proved to be a good driver when given the right equipment. A top 10 finish for Hunter-Reay was long overdue.

5. Danica Patrick and a quit sixth place finish

Danica battled all day to a respectable sixth place finish in what was her 8th top ten of the season. Patrick’s sixth place finish was the highest for an AGR machine, in a rather awful weekend for the Andretti-Green Racing four car team. Patrick remains in fifth place in the point’s championship standings and continues to have her best season to date in the IndyCar Series. Patrick’s continued development for the remainder of the season could have an impact on her off-season decisions.

6. A shuffle in the points championship chase

Dario Franchitti erased Scott Dixon’s 19 point lead in one race and overtook the top spot in the point’s championship. Franchitti picked up the standard 50 points for being the race winner, but also gained three additional points for winning the pole and leading the most race laps. Ryan Briscoe sits in third spot, just 13 points back from Franchitti. Helio Castroneves is 78 points back in fourth and Danica Patrick remains in fifth spot, 81 points back. Seven races remain in the 2009 season and the point’s championship is shaping up to be a three person race between Franchitti, Dixon, and Briscoe. Danica and Helio would both need major breaks in the remaining races of the season in the form of wins and poles, those don’t appear in the immediate horizon.

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