FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 2013 Honda Indy Toronto

First Impressions, IndyCar — By on July 14, 2013 6:25 pm
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With the Series having now completed its second-ever double-header weekend and first-ever standing start, More Front Wing present our first impressions of the Honda Indy Toronto.

PAUL’S IMPRESSIONS:

In comparison to Saturday’s race, today’s race on the streets of Toronto wasn’t as exciting or volatile. Some days, that’s just the way it goes. Scott Dixon put on a commanding performance and affirmed that Target Chip Ganassi Racing is indeed back in top form. With the Series heading next to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Dixon is perfectly primed to make a solid run at the championship throughout the remaining six races.

Unlike the doubleheader weekend at Detroit, the B-side of the doubleheader weekend here in Toronto was surprisingly tame, especially given how chaotic events were that unfolded on Saturday. Thankfully, though, we aren’t discussing Race Control after this race except for a somewhat obscure tire rule that created something of a dust-up during the race because of the NBC Sports Network broadcasters not quite understanding the rule, either. In the end, the rule was properly executed and things really went off without a hitch.

The standing start was well-executed, and I’m sure it looked pretty if you were watching on TV or sitting on the frontstraight. From my vantage point high above turn 5 at the start of the race, I couldn’t tell the difference between a standing and rolling start once the cars got to me. Take that for whatever it’s worth.

All in all, a great weekend in Toronto. One really good race, one kinda snoozer. Can’t win them all, but I’m still pleased with how all the events of the weekend unfolded.

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STEPH’S IMPRESSIONS:

Well, those two races couldn’t possibly have been more different if somebody had tried to plan it! There were a few hiccups… okay, a lot of hiccups… okay, they were probably bigger than hiccups… but overall the record books aren’t going to remember much about the details.

What I took away from this race: the drivers and teams all hate double-headers but all seem to share the opinion that they’ll do whatever it takes to help the Series grow; Toronto can always be counted on to create mayhem and drama; and on the regulation side, things should be back to normal — more or less, for better or for worse — by Mid-Ohio.

Beyond that, there’s a ton to analyze from of these events, but fortunately we’ll have lots of time to dig into it all in the coming weeks.

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CHAD’S IMPRESSIONS:

Three in a row for the IceMan = everyone else should be worried. Whatever was plaguing this team all season, they seemed to have it figured out. There was the 1-2-3 finish two weeks ago at Pocono, Dixon’s 3-in-a-row, Dario Franchitti finishing 3rd, 3rd, and 4th, and both Target boys winning a pole in Toronto. Chip Ganassi’s team appears to be just fine after all.

I was thoroughly impressed with Carlos Muñoz, and it was nice to see Alex Tagliani and Josef Newgarden turn things around in the second race.

Speaking of turning things around, I guess those changes at Dragon Racing are paying off nicely for Sebastien Bourdais.

It will be interesting to see if anything can stop Dixon’s wave of momentum. The standing start was very good, and the overall weekend was very positive. The only down side to all of this is that we only have one race in the next 40 calendar days.

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BASH’S IMPRESSIONS:

I heart Toronto. Let’s race here forever.

Race 1 featured thrills, spills, excitement (except for scrapping the standing start) in one of the most entertaining races I’ve seen in a while. Of course, Scott Dixon’s win and Sebastien Bourdais’s long-sought-for podium appearance were overshadowed by a race control call — shades of the past. Blocking was called on Dario Franchitti when Will Power tried to squeeze inside for a pass. Will found the tire barriers in turn 3, and Dario soldiered on to a third place finish only to be dumped to 13th. In a bizarre scene, those of us watching on TV were learning about the penalty and watching Bourdais’s trophy topple off the base and shatter in front of Dario’s podium step, just a few minutes from each other — symbolism of the wheels coming off what was a great day. We learned later that Dario’s penalty was overturned and he was restored to the podium, but it dampened the thrill of such dynamic racing. F1 pit man Will Buxton tweeted later that he loves IndyCar but the powers that be make some “playschool” moves now and then. Nailed it.

Race 2 was less thrilling but featured a display of dominance by Scott Dixon that just a few races ago we didn’t think we’d see from him this season. Helio Castroneves continued his championship-caliber season with a second place, and Sebastien Bourdais wanted another crack at not cracking his trophy and wound up third.

This season started out being a show by James Hinchcliffe and the “little” teams with Penske and Ganassi more like opening acts than headliners. With the Pocono podium sweep and three wins in a row by Dixon, Ganassi has come alive and now the Penske drivers are both factoring into finishes more than they were earlier. Parity for real, with two podiums for Dragon Racing representing that parity for the “little” teams this weekend.

It’s potent stuff, almost always entertaining, and it’s (still) beyond frustrating that so few people seem to know. Here’s to a big launch for the Turbo movie this week to bring some attention – and here’s to that attention sticking.

 

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