Honda Indy Toronto entry list
Track time over four practice sessions totaling 165 minutes before the Honda Indy Toronto will be a luxury of sorts to Conor Daly.
The 23-year-old Verizon IndyCar Series driver returns to the No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda for the 85-lap race June 14 on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn street circuit as the substitute for injured Toronto native James Hinchcliffe.
Also returning this weekend is Sebastian Saavedra, who has competed in three races this season and 59 overall, in the No. 8 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Saavedra said his foot, which was injured in an incident during the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, "is back to 100 percent."
Daly, who will compete at Exhibition Place for the first time, has driven at Long Beach as a last-minute replacement for the injured Rocky Moran Jr. in a Dale Coyne Racing Honda and in the Detroit doubleheader in the No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry.
He had a lone practice session of 45 minutes on the 1.968-mile Long Beach street course and 75 minutes on the 2.35-mile Belle Isle street course before knockout qualifications.
“Thankfully, it’s more like a normal race weekend,” he said. “(Toronto) is a track I’ve always wanted to race on; the racing has always been great. I’m happy to have an opportunity to finally get out there myself. I just have to use the practice sessions as best we can and try to learn at an extremely high rate of speed because you want to be as ready as possible for qualifying.”
Daly improved his position by four at Long Beach and a combined six in the twin 70-lap races at Belle Isle, including posting his first top 10 in Race 2 (sixth, and leading 12 laps). That was a confidence boost after not taking the green flag for the Indianapolis 500 a week earlier because of a mechanical issue.
“You have a lot of question marks in your head – will I be able to stack up against these guys, how long will it take to get up to speed, how can I race with these guys?” Daly said. “There was a lot of intense side-by-side racing at Detroit, a lot of back to front and front to back racing. We experienced every part of the field so there was a lot to learn and we proved we can run out front and be competitive. That’s what I’m happy about.
“We made a bit of a statement and I think it’s going to be fun to continue building on what we learned in Detroit.”
Toronto race weekend notes for fans
June 12 is Fan Friday and the Ontario Honda Dealers will cover the cost of admission in exchange for a donation at the gate to Make-A-Wish Canada. Honda Canada will match dollar-for-dollar the donations.
At Exhibition Place will be fun and games for the whole family, including free popcorn, snow cones and candy floss, golf practice swing and hockey slap shot zone, face painting, racing simulators and an opportunity to have your photo taken in an Indy car. Find your festival
Throughout the weekend, fans will have the opportunity to sign a giant "Get Well Hinch" card for a minimum $2 donation to Make-A-Wish Canada. ... Canadian rock band The Trews will sing the national anthems during pre-race ceremonies.
Rousseau Metal, a leader in storage solutions based in Quebec and a Rahal Letterman Lanigan partner since 2009, will be the primary sponsor of the No. 15 Honda driven by Graham Rahal for the Honda Indy Toronto. The team also announced it will again partner with FightSMA as an associate sponsor on the No. 15 entry for the Toronto and Mid-Ohio races to build awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. ... Houston-based Cordyne, an electrical supply and manufacturing company, is a new associate sponsor of the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda driven by Jack Hawksworth. ... Deltro Electric of Toronto, a leader in the design and building of solar installations, has signed on to be an associate sponsor of the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda driven by Gabby Chaves for the remainder of the season.
Firestone 600 follow-up notes
A few notable factoids from the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6:
* There were 1,172 on-track passes for position. Tony Kanaan, who started eighth and finished second to Chip Ganassi Racing Teams teammate Scott Dixon, had 87.
* There were nine drivers who led at least one lap, the most in a race on the 1.455-mile oval since the June 2002 race.
* There were 14 lead changes, the most at the speedway since the June 2008 race.
“I thought it was a good race. To be honest, it was a very tough one," third-place finisher Helio Castroneves said. "Obviously I understand the type of race we ran before. But ... we have three types of people running with different downforce. That technology in the Verizon IndyCar Series, we still battle each other. It just shows the amount of competitiveness of every single team. Some cars probably was with more downforce than others. As the track changed, the temperature changed, all the cars, not only one, but all the cars becoming better. That's why it was very difficult race. Plus traffic, the tire degradation. A lot of things happening.
“Just to show the skills, to be able to keep that kind of condition going, it's a big thumbs up. For the first time we're having this aero kit, I thought it was very successful.”