Doubleheader weekend for IndyCar in Toronto
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Three-time and defending IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon is hoping to repeat history this weekend on the streets of Toronto.
This will be the third and final time this season that IndyCar runs two full- distance races at one location on the same weekend. The Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit hosted the first weekend doubleheader of the year on May 31- June 1. The second weekend doubleheader took place at Houston's NRG Park on June 28-29.
In 2013, Toronto was the second of three weekend doubleheaders for the season. Both races in Houston occurred in October.
Dixon scored a weekend sweep in Toronto last year. He had won the week prior at Pocono. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver nearly repeated the feat in the October weekend doubleheader in Houston, winning the first race and then finishing second to Will Power in the second race.
"When you win the first one of a doubleheader, you're obviously looking for big things for race two," Dixon said. "To have it go the right way twice within a two-day spread with the competition you have is almost impossible."
Dixon is currently eighth in the championship point standings. He is 140 points behind leader Helio Castroneves. Dixon has posted two straight top-five finishes (fifth at Pocono and fourth at Iowa).
After finishing eighth at Iowa, Castroneves took sole possession of first in the championship standings. He holds a nine-point advantage over second-place and Team Penske teammate Will Power, who placed 14th at Iowa. Power and Castroneves had been tied in points.
Castroneves had struggled in Toronto in the past but has improved here lately. In 10 career starts here, he has earned one pole (2000) and four top-10 finishes. Castroneves had finished no better than 17th in Toronto from 2009-11. Last year, he placed sixth in Race 1 and second in race 2.
"It's just a very tough track, much like all of the temporary street courses in the Verizon IndyCar Series," Castroneves said. "I'm encouraged by the way we have run on those types of tracks this year, Houston especially. A lot of unusual things usually happen at Toronto, and it's very hard to stay out of trouble there. With a little good fortune, we will be fine."
James Hinchcliffe, a Toronto native, is the only Canadian competing in the weekend doubleheader here. Hinchcliffe has not won a race since June 2013 at Iowa. His best finish this season is fifth, which came in Detroit (Race 2) and Houston (Race 1). The Andretti Autosport driver is hoping to end his winless drought in his home country.
"I'm not superstitious, but I think I certainly come in here with just a little bit of tempered expectations," Hinchcliffe said. "The car has been running well on these types of tracks, so I'm probably more excited than ever this year in terms of getting out there, because there's no reason why we shouldn't be competitive based on what we saw at Houston and what we saw at Detroit."
Twenty-three teams are on the entry list for the Honda Indy Toronto.
Series: Verizon IndyCar. Date: Saturday, July 19 (Race 1) and Sunday, July 20 (Race 2). Race: Honda Indy Toronto (weekend doubleheader). Site: Streets of Toronto. Track: 1.75-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. Start Time: 3:55 p.m. ET on Saturday and 3:55 p.m. ET on Sunday. Laps: 85 (each race). Miles: 149.74 (each race). 2013 Winner: Scott Dixon (Race 1 and 2). Television: NBC Sports Network. Radio: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite.
07/18 15:08:52 ET