For the second straight year in a row, Sebastian Bourdais got to hold one of the crystal trophies in victory lane. However, this time he didn’t drop it, and it also wasn’t for third. Instead, Bourdais got to hold up the winner’s trophy after dominating the Honda Indy Toronto Race 1 en route to victory. It marks his 32nd career victory, and his first since November 2007 at Mexico City.
Bourdais started on the pole, holding off all challenges as he led all the way till his first pit stop at lap 34. Once the cycle completed, Bourdais would cycle back to the lead at lap 41 and led the rest of the 65 lap event.
“It’s really sweet,” Bourdais commented afterwards. “That (win) didn’t come easy. We had to fight and wait for it for a long time but today was just one of these days when the stars align. I guess I was not expecting it because here I know how things can go. I was very relaxed before the race, just did the job and was hoping that things were going to pan out in our favor and they did, and couldn’t be any happier with this one.”
For KV Racing Technology, it marks their fourth victory as a team, and their first since winning the Indianapolis 500 last year with Tony Kanaan.
Helio Castroneves would run a solid race, staying in the top three all race long, en route to finishing second to further extend his point lead.
“It was a hard weekend, but we’re going to make the best out of it,” Castroneves commented. “Right now, second place isn’t too bad. Certainly we had a good battle in the beginning. Had to work a little bit for it. Had to save energy because I knew there is another race but the car was working really well, and towards the end, it was a little closer out there with two slow cars, and I didn’t know where to go. But, in the end of the day, the PGG car did a great job.”
Tony Kanaan completed the podium, followed by Simon Pagenaud and 2013 Honda Indy Toronto race winner Scott Dixon.
“It was an okay race,” Kanaan said. “I think Bourdais was in a class of his own, so it was pretty hard to fight for the win but I tried to keep up with Helio (Castroneves) and (Ryan) Hunter-Reay at the time and I knew my car, towards the end of the stint, it wasn’t as good as theirs so I was just trying to hang in there. We had a pretty good stop, pretty good start. So it’s an okay day. We still have a little bit to improve, I fthink, if we want to win races but we’re heading in the right direction.”
Graham Rahal finished sixth, followed by Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe, Will Power and Justin Wilson.
The race didn’t start off smoothly as Simon Pagenaud would spin as they headed up towards turn four as a result of contact from Luca Filippi. Being a tight section of the track, Josef Newgarden, Mike Conway, Takuma Sato and Mikhail Aleshin would also receive damage.
“It’s really frustrating,” Newgarden’s car owner Sarah Fisher said. “It’s frustrating because Josef has a really fast car and does really good here in Toronto. What can ya do? You’re at the mercy. We’re just going to do what we can do for this race and be conservative and hope to have a better second race.”
Newgarden’s team would work on the car under the red flag, taking the 20-second drive thru penalty for the repairs. Newgarden fought his way back u pthrough the field, though slid through turn three and then popped the back corner of the car off turn three, resulting in heavy suspension damage and a poor finish.
Filippi’s day didn’t get better, either, as he popped it off the wall, resulting in right suspension damage. When he slowed, Carlos Huertas would get sideways and into the tire barrier, resulting in a couple other drivers making minimal contact.
“My front wing was damaged on the first lap so I was struggling with it in the last corner, and I was struggling and using a lot of the front right and I got a lot of understeer and just lost it,” Filippi said.
Championship contender Ryan Hunter-Reay would suffer a poor finish as a result of contact from Tony Kanaan with 27 to go. The contact caused Hunter-Reay to hit the turn three wall and make heavy left front wing/suspension damage. Bourdais ran over the front ring with his car down in turn five, though did not suffer any complications.
“I expected him to give me more room but I guess that’s my fault for expecting,” Hunter-Reay said afterwards.
“I probably didn’t leave enough there for Hunter-Reay,” Kanaan commented post-race. “I took advantage there. I just took a chance there and it didn’t work out.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series cars will return to the track at 4 p.m. EST for their second of two races today at the Honda Indy Toronto as a result of yesterday’s rain-out.