New­gar­den takes Honda Indy Toronto

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - RYAN MCKENNA TORONTO —

James Hinch­cliffe is the face of the Honda Indy Toronto, so beat­ing the home­town favourite at his race is that much sweeter for Josef New­gar­den.

New­gar­den cap­tured his sec­ond ti­tle on the streets sur­round­ing Ex­hi­bi­tion Place on Sun­day, fin­ish­ing ahead of Hinch­cliffe, who came third for a sec­ond straight year.

“I love beat­ing Hinch in Canada,” New­gar­den joked. “I love Hinch, he’s a great rep­re­sen­ta­tive, but this is so good.”

New­gar­den, who also won here in 2015, came out in front on Lap 25 af­ter a crash by Tony Kanaan caused a cau­tion. Kanaan had his brakes lock up while leav­ing the pits and con­nected with the pro­tec­tive tires in Turn 1.

New­gar­den says that he’ll al­ways take a bit of good for­tune.

“We were up there but I’ll al­ways take a bit of luck, I think we all would,” he said. “The days that it goes your way and you end up lucky, you just take ‘em. “I’ll take a lucky yel­low any day of the week.” It’s the fifth ca­reer win for New­gar­den and his sec­ond vic­tory this sea­son af­ter fin­ish­ing first in the Grand Prix of Alabama in April.

Alexan­der Rossi fin­ished sec­ond, ahead of Hinch­cliffe.

The driver from Oakville earned his first podium fin­ish in Toronto last year. “We’ve had lots of luck when we’ve come here be­fore, it’s al­ways just been bad luck,” Hinch­cliffe said. “I was al­most hop­ing that the race was 10 laps longer, it might have made things a bit more in­ter­est­ing there at the end.”

Thun­der­show­ers were a threat through­out the race but held off. The day started out sunny and hu­mid but clouded over dur­ing the event and it rained lightly at a few dif­fer­ent times dur­ing the race.

Fans still packed the grand­stands re­gard­less of the po­ten­tial in­clement weather and stood along the fence to catch a glimpse as the cars whizzed by.

New­gar­den says that the weather threat and pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing to switch to a dif­fer­ent set of tires was an added stress.

“I was con­cerned about that (rain) and how it would throw a wrench into the works,” New­gar­den said. “If it starts rain­ing when I’m on the wrong end of the track then that wouldn’t be very good.”

Marco An­dretti, whose fa­ther, Michael, won seven times on this track, was fourth while pole-sit­ter Si­mon Pa­ge­naud was fifth af­ter bat­tling with Ryan Hunter-Reay.

A cau­tion came out on the first lap when de­fend­ing-cham­pion Will Power was hit on the right side of his car in Turn 3 by over­all leader Scott Dixon. The steer­ing on Power’s car was bro­ken, mean­ing he had to be pushed into pit lane. He didn’t fin­ish the race.

Dixon was as­sessed a driv­ethrough penalty for en­ter­ing a closed pit lane. He was able to get back into the race on Lap 60, mov­ing into fourth spot but fin­ished 10th.

New­gar­den jumped into fourth in the driver stand­ings by pick­ing up 53 points. Dixon still main­tains the Ver­i­zon IndyCar Se­ries lead with 423 points, but has just a three point edge on Team Penske’s He­lio Cas­tron­eves. Al­though the rain played a fac­tor into how New­gar­den and his Penske crew strate­gized for the race, he says this vic­tory feels a lit­tle bit eas­ier than his last one in Toronto.

FRANK GUNN, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Josef New­gar­den crosses the fin­ish line. It was fun to beat James Hinch­cliffe in Canada, he joked.

FRANK GUNN, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Win­ner Josef New­gar­den, cen­tre, sec­ond-place fin­isher Alexan­der Rossi, left, and third-place fin­isher James Hinch­cliffe pose for the cam­era.

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