LIVE BLOG: 2014 Honda Indy Toronto

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on July 18, 2014 8:08 am

8:54 AM ET (Steph) — Good morning! Paul’s already briefed you on the pea-soup conditions today, so I’m just dropping in to share a couple of links with you before I disappear for the morning.

First, our newest Spectator Seating Guide went up last night covering all of the vantage points here at the Honda Indy Toronto from the top-tier grandstands to general admission viewing areas. If you’re considering heading down here and are wondering which tickets to buy – or even if you’re just curious – click here to check it out: More Front Wing’s Honda Indy Toronto Spectator Seating Guide

And just after the Lights finish up this morning I’ll be running over to help out with coverage of the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship as they run their first race of the weekend at 9:15 this morning. If you’re interested in following the Mazda Road to Indy’s stars of tomorrow, give us a follow at @ToyoTiresF1600 and check out the action. It’s always great racing.

After that, I’m heading over to the Sportsnet 590 The Fan broadcast tent at the base of the foot bridge on the infield side to co-host Raceline Radio with Erik Tomas. We’re live from 10 AM to 12:30 PM and will be covering Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying and talking with some very special guests. There’s a link available here for those who would like to listen live: Sportsnet 590 The Fan Listen Live

I’ll be back after we sign off there to get caught up on things before Indy Lights qualifying and IndyCar pre-race later today. Paul will keep you up to speed until then!


8:42 AM ET (Paul) — Yesterday we were greeted here in Toronto by Chamber of Commerce weather that saw nary a cloud in the sky, low humidity, and mild temperatures in the mid to upper 70s.  Today is quite different.  The entire Greater Toronto Area is under overcast conditions and it is quite muggy out.  Temperatures are still in the low 60s and only expected to reach into the low 70s, but the humidity (currently a soupy 78%) makes moving around outdoors quite uncomfortable.  There is a chance of rain later this afternoon, but the best chances come after this afternoon’s Verizon IndyCar Series race should be completed.

Last night I had the opportunity to do something that many others did as well and took in the Blue Jays-Rangers game at the Rogers Centre (SkyDome).  Since I was a much younger child, the SkyDome always held a bit of mystique as one of the great stadiums in the world.  Given that it was the first retractable-roof stadium, it was a well-earned reputation and is the standard bearer for many of the stadiums that have been built in the last 25 years.

I’m sure there is a bit of romancing my childhood  here and my expectations for a stadium built in 1989 were likely unrealistic, but to say SkyDome is showing its age is a bit of an understatement.  The ticket and gate facilities were somewhat spare (although if I showed up prior to the third inning, more of both may have been available).  Once inside the facility, the ramps to get to the middle and upper seating areas were dark, drab, narrow, and seemingly unending.  It felt like walking through the catacombs in an Indiana Jones movie.  Beyond the ramps, I found the concourses to be quite narrow as well, and even with a crowd I would estimate at 50-60% of capacity, moving about was difficult from time to time.

When I finally got to my seat, which was about half way up the upper deck, I found the seat itself to be uncomfortably narrow, though it probably would have been less of an issue for someone who, shall we say, has a few less pounds to shed.  The stairs were quite steep as well and one misstep on the way down could easily lead to an embarrassing and uncomfortable situation for someone tumbling down.

All that said, once I finally settled in, the viewing experience was quite nice.  I was seated within a good eye shot of the infamous hotel that graces center and left field.  I saw no adult activities going on through the windows as was once a reputation of the facility, but I must admit I didn’t really spend too much time searching.  Sight lines were pretty good though I did miss the landing of a 3-run home run as the ball disappeared below our seating area.  The massive video board in center field is nicely arranged and does a fantastic job of both displaying replays and keeping fans apprised of the normal stuff you want to know during the game (score, lineup, pitch count, outs, etc).

All in all, I’d say the visit to SkyDo….errr, Rogers Centre was a success and worth the time.  Yes, it is a facility that is now 25 years old, and it doesn’t feature some of the more fan-focused amenities of today’s newer stadiums.  However, it is a good place to watch a game, and quite honestly at $16 CAN for my ticket, I’d gladly do it again.  By the way, the Blue Jays lost to the Rangers, 5-1.

On the track now are the Indy Lights for practice #2.  The top-5 are currently Jack Harvey, Mathew Brabham, Gabby Chaves, Zach Veach, and Alex Baron.  We would all certainly like to see more than 12 cars navigating this 1.8-mile track, but they do look a lot better this week than having the eight cars running on the 2.5-mile oval at Pocono a couple weeks ago.

Time to let Steph take over for a bit and actually talk about what’s happening here today.


NEXT PAGE: Coverage from Day #1 at the 2014 Honda Indy Toronto

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