Pit stop tim­ing is per­fect for Power

Vet­eran Aus­tralian driver wins Toronto Indy; Oakville’s James Hinch­cliffe fin­ishes third

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - RYAN MCKENNA

TORONTO — Pa­tience paid off for IndyCar vet­eran Will Power.

The Aus­tralian’s de­ci­sion to use his sec­ond pit stop on lap 58 proved to be the dif­fer­ence on Sun­day as Power cap­tured his third Honda Indy Toronto ti­tle and 28th vic­tory of his ca­reer.

“Team called me in just at the last minute and per­fect tim­ing,” Power said. “I mean, I can’t tell you how many times it’s gone the op­po­site way for me at this place and many other places. I was so stoked to see yel­low lights as I went into pit lane.” “Not of­ten you catch a yel­low like that.” Power, 35, pre­vi­ously won the event in 2007 and 2010 and took the 85-lap race on the streets sur­round­ing Toronto’s Ex­hi­bi­tion Place by 1.5275 sec­onds.

Brazil’s He­lio Cas­tron­eves was sec­ond ahead of James Hinch­cliffe of Oakville.

It’s Power’s third win of the sea­son af­ter cap­tur­ing the sec­ond leg of the Chevro­let Dual in Detroit and the KOHLER Grand Prix on June 26. Power was the run­ner-up last week­end at the Iowa Corn 300.

“As my en­gi­neer al­ways says, it’s so hard to win,” Power said.

“You can never get des­per­ate, you just have to chip away and things just start fall­ing your way. I wish I had the en­ergy that I had when I was in my 20s, but the ex­pe­ri­ence I have now be­cause I’m a much dif­fer­ent driver.”

Power started the race in fourth af­ter qual­i­fy­ing and the 2014 IndyCar Se­ries cham­pion en­tered the week­end third in the points stand­ings.

The vic­tory gave Power 51 points and moves the 35-year-old into sec­ond on the IndyCar Se­ries stand­ings with 385, trail­ing only Team Penske team­mate Simon Pa­ge­naud, who has 432 points. Pa­ge­naud, who has never won in Toronto, fin­ished Sun­day’s race in ninth.

Cas­tron­eves, an­other mem­ber of Team Penske, is third in the stand­ings.

A cau­tion was is­sued on the 81st lap when Juan Pablo Mon­toya and Jack Hawksworth crashed into the wall. That helped so­lid­ify Hinch­cliffe’s third-place fin­ish.

It’s Hinch­cliffe’s best re­sult on his home track af­ter plac­ing eighth twice in the first leg of the 2013 and 2014 races. It’s also the best fin­ish for a Cana­dian at the Indy Toronto since 2006 when Toronto’s Paul Tracy placed sec­ond.

“There’s no doubt this is go­ing to be a high­light day in the ca­reer reel, mem­ory reel, but hope­fully we can bet­ter it in the fu­ture,” Hinch­cliffe said. “It’d be so great to win here, but I just al­ways wanted to give the Toronto fans a good re­sult to cheer for be­cause they’ve been so sup­port­ive day-in and day-out from the start of my IndyCar ca­reer.”

Scott Dixon, the pole sit­ter and two-time cham­pion of the race, jumped out to a good start and main­tained an al­most two-sec­ond dif­fer­ence be­tween him­self and Pa­ge­naud af­ter 54 laps. The New Zealand na­tive slipped off, how­ever, on the last 20 laps.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Josef New­gar­den hit the curb on Turn 5 dur­ing lap 59 — the same curb that caused a cau­tion on lap 45 — and smashed his front right tire. The 25-year-old winced in pain fol­low­ing con­tact with the wall and did not fin­ish the race.

He was sport­ing a wrap on his right hand ear­lier this week as a re­sult of a bro­ken hand and right clav­i­cle caused in a crash at Texas last month.

The track changes to this year’s race had been a com­mon dis­cus­sion point in the lead up to the race. Due to con­struc­tion of a ho­tel on the Ex­hi­bi­tion Place grounds, the pits had been moved, which cre­ated tighter space on Turn 11. IndyCar of­fi­cials an­nounced Satur­day morn­ing that the wall in Turn 8 had been changed to the con­fig­u­ra­tion used in pre­vi­ous years, which gave an ad­di­tional six feet on the in­side of the track. NOTES: Two CF-18 Hor­nets from the Cana­dian Armed Forces flew over the track fol­low­ing the na­tional an­them.

MARK BLINCH, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Will Power of Aus­tralia takes the check­ered flag as he crosses the fin­ish line to win the Honda Indy Toronto on Sun­day. Power has now won the race three times.

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