After a third-place finish a year ago, the Canadian IndyCar driver said there are still changes to be made to his auto before Sunday’s race. So thanks to all of you guys. “That’s what we’ve tried to do”.
“If you look at where we were past year”, Rossi said, “the last four cars in qualifying, to having three cars in the top 10 (in the race), really having something to fight for today, it’s a testament not only to this weekend and the strength the team has shown, but also this offseason and how much better 2017 has been for us, has been for Honda”.
It’s been 14 years since a Canadian – Toronto native Paul Tracy – captured the checkered flag here.
Michael Andretti has won here seven times from 1989-2001, while the now defunct Newman-Haas team also won seven races from 1989-2004.
Hinchcliffe’s result was his third podium finish on a road course this season.
Once the race went back to green, there was very little else to it. Newgarden built a comfortable lead over Rossi with Hinchcliffe a very clear third. The Australian has strung together four straight top-5 finishes, including the victory at Texas.
“We were catching Alex and Josef in that last stint”, Hinchcliffe said. Add in a Texas crash, contact with the wall in Phoenix and a mechanical issue at Long Beach, and it’s an incomplete picture. After finishing 18th and 14th in Friday’s two practice sessions – while his teammates ran anywhere from sixth to 11th – Rossi said his team stayed late to find a solution to the No. 98 Honda’s lack of speed. The 26-year-old Tennessee driver has five career victories, also winning in Alabama in April.
Hinchcliffe, who’s in his seventh IndyCar season, is thrilled his luck is finally changing after some lean early years racing at home.
But you’ll want to make sure you’re tuned in anyway. He claimed pole position for the Indianapolis 500 in May.
“I love beating Hinch in Canada”, Newgarden joked. “He’s a huge face for our sport too which is really cool”.
“If it’s got four wheels and an engine, I’ll give it a whirl”, Hinchcliffe told The Canadian Press. I think we need to work on our auto when the conditions are a little slicker, but the more Firestone rubber we got down the more it suited our setup. Power held-off Helio Castroneves on a last-lap restart to score career win number 28. No less than four drivers ended up hitting the wall in Turn 11 previous year, so it seems the concerns weren’t completely unfounded.
“I got out in the marbles when I nearly lost the rear going into turn six”, said Hunter-Reay, who won in Toronto in 2012 en route to the driver’s championship.
Dixon retains his title advantage over Castroneves, but the gap has been cut to just three points.