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IndyCar's push to pass returns for Toronto

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The IZOD IndyCar Series will re-introduce the overtake assist feature -- the push to pass -- for the remaining five road/street races on the 2012 schedule, beginning this weekend at Toronto.

Introduced to IndyCar in 2009, the push to pass allows a driver to add turbocharger boost and additional RPM with the press of a button, located on the steering wheel, to complete a pass.

The additional boost is added for a pre-determined amount of time, which is set by IndyCar race officials for each road/street course. It will be 100 seconds for the scheduled 85-lap race on the 1.75-mile, 11-turn Toronto street circuit.

Push to pass will be disabled for practice and Saturday's qualifying session but will be re-enabled for Sunday's warm-up session and race.

"It's going to be very interesting, with that push to pass, how much power are we actually going to get, said Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti. "I know the numbers of boost, but how much will it actually translate on track, I think there's going to be quite a big difference. That, combined with the fact that you are now allowed to defend again this year, is going to make for some pretty interesting racing, and I think it will definitely liven things up a little bit."

Franchitti is the defending race winner at Toronto. He also won the 2009 IndyCar race there. His victory on this course came in the 1999 Champ Car event.

"I've always loved racing in Toronto," Franchitti said. "I think it started off in 1997 when I was driving for Carl Hogan and had a pretty good start there, getting my first pole position. I've always enjoyed the track and the challenge of the bumpy surface and the multiple surface changes there."

After finishing 25th at Iowa, Franchitti dropped to eighth in the point standings. The three-time defending series champion is now 70 points behind leader Will Power from Team Penske. Franchitti claimed the pole at Iowa but blew an engine during the pace laps, which put him out of the race before the green flag waved.

Ryan Hunter-Reay from Andretti Autosport is the hottest driver in IndyCar right now. Hunter-Reay scored back-to-back victories at Milwaukee and Iowa. He is just three points behind Power. Prior to Milwaukee, he was sitting seventh in the rankings and trailed the leader by 75 points.

"It all comes down to consistency, and that's how championships are won," Hunter-Reay said. "We have to be consistent. We have to go week in and week out and be consistently strong and be within the top-five, for sure, every weekend and certainly the Penske team will and the Ganassi guys and also some wild cards will show up on a lot of these street and road courses. So we have to be good there."

Hunter-Reay has finished third in the last two races at Toronto.

Power won there in 2010, but last year, he finished 24th after Franchitti made contact and spun him around during the mid-stages of the race. Franchitti was originally assessed a drive-through penalty for the contact, but his team successfully appealed the penalty moments later.

Twenty-five teams are on the entry list for the Honda Indy Toronto.

Series: IZOD IndyCar. Date: Sunday, July 8. Race: Honda Indy Toronto. Site: Streets of Toronto. Track: 1.75-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. Start Time: 12:30 p.m. (ET). Laps: 85. Miles: 148.75. 2011 Winner: Dario Franchitti. Television: ABC. Radio: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite.

07/04 17:39:08 ET

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