Thursday, July 15, 2010

Toronto Race Preview

(Could Paul Tracy win his third career Toronto race? It would be give him a win in every decade he's raced in at Toronto)

The IZOD IndyCar Series prepares for round ten of their 2010 season and they take to the streets of Toronto, Canada for a 1.75 mile street race that saw Dario Franchitti take the checkered flag in 2009. IndyCar Garage gives you six storylines heading into race weekend.

1. The sixth road/street course of the season should offer plenty of action.

26 driver/car combinations are entered for this weekend’s race, and this field is arguably as strong as the Indy 2010 Indy 500 field. Paul Tracy, Graham Rahal, and Tomas Sheckter will field cars through various sponsorship deals, and their presence boosts the competition to higher levels. Tracy got involved with Helio Castroneves at this track last year and both of their days were ended prematurely. Toronto should offer passing zones, and with the overtake assist button in play this year, the racing should be competitive for a road/street course venue.

2. The new chassis announcement should spur plenty of quotes, thoughts and reactions from the paddock.

Toronto will be the first venue where the entire series will have the chance to talk and discuss the selection of the 2012 IndyCar. Opinions have varied in the last 24 hours, but for the most part, fans and owners seem happy with the direction that 2012 offers for IndyCar. Look for plenty of discussion and newsworthy quotes to come out of the paddock this weekend.

3. PT = back in the game

Paul Tracy, believe it or not, with Sunday’s race will have raced at this track in three different decades. Tracy won in Toronto in 1993 with Penske and 2003 with Forsythe Racing. Tracy will be racing in second race of the 2010 season, as he drove last weekend at Watkins Glen, but missed the 2010 Indy 500. Tracy is a character that drives hard and provides personality for the series, his ability to push the car and other drivers to the limit is something that does not go unnoticed.

4. The Championship hunt heats up

Will Power has nice 32 point lead over Dario Franchitti, but don’t forget that Franchitti won at Toronto in 2009. Power has been the dominate driver on the road/street courses, as all three of wins in 2010 have come on non-oval circuits. Power has taken the most of his first full season ride with Team Penske, and recovered nicely from his back injury in 2009. Keep an eye on Power and Franchitti throughout the weekend, as every point is circuital at this junction in the season.

5. Upset special?

The Road and street courses usually offer the chance for unknown driver/team to sneak onto the podium or into victory lane. Justin Wilson was a prime example of that last year at Watkins Glen and Ryan Hunter-Reay ended Andretti Autosport’s winless streak earlier in the year at Long Beach. The ovals are usually dominated by Penske/Ganassi, but the road/street course venues usually provide several teams to have a shot at victory. Qualifying won’t be broadcast this week, due to the race being on ABC, but usually in the Firestone Fast Six, four to five teams will be represented.

6. Predictions for Sunday’s race at 12:30 on ABC

The last time IndyCar Garage made race predications, ICG predicated that Briscoe would win at Texas and he did. I’ll give you the top five:

5th – Dan Wheldon – Note: He drove a heck of a race at Watkins Glen
4th – Ryan Hunter-Reay Note: His season is secure sponsorship wise, no pressure now
3rd – Graham Rahal – Note: Young Rahal doesn’t feel the pressure of being out of the series and brings a podium home for Newman/Haas
2nd – Dario Franchitti – Note: Franchitti creeps up on Power in the championship
1st – Paul Tracy – Note: I know this is somewhat of a long shot, but he is a two time winner at this course and had a car to win last year until he was wrecked by Castroneves

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