Neena Channan is a journalist, photographer and correspondent for Jornal de Toronto at the Honda Indy Toronto 2019
The Honda Indy roared into Toronto the weekend of July 12 running through to July 14, 2019. What an exciting weekend! Lots of racing, events and food, plus Fan Friday where you received a complimentary ticket with a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada.
On this hot and humid weekend, fans and racers were all smiles and looking forward to an entertaining time-they were not disappointed. On the schedule were the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires which includes the Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000 and the USF2000 Championships, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Stadium Super Trucks and of course the main event, the NTT Indycar Series.
Brazil was well represented this weekend by Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist in the NTT IndyCar Series, Lucas Kohl in the Indy Lights and Eduardo Barrichello and Bruna Tomaselli in the USF2000 Championship.
NTT IndyCar Series is the premier open-wheel racing series in the United States with it’s one foray across the border into Canada at the Honda Indy.
The Honda Indy Toronto features a 2.84 km (1.755 mile), 11 turn temporary street course. The NTT Indycar Series race is an 85 lap, 244.31 km (151.81 mile) race. Past Brazilian winners have included Emerson Fittipaldi in 1987 and Cristiano da Matta in 2002.
Race day Sunday dawned with beautiful blue skies and temperatures rising. The crowds filled Exhibition Place to cheer for the hometown favourite James Hinchcliffe driving for Schmidt Peterson in the NTT IndyCar Series.
IndyCar driver and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves (Brazil) driving the Honda Fastest Seat in Sports, the two-seater Indy car powered by Honda and Robert Wickens (Canada) driving a modified hand control Acrua NSX led the NTT IndyCar Series cars on a warm-up lap before peeling away to let the racing begin. An emotional and rousing cheer went up for Robert Wickens who suffered a serious spinal injury in Pocono last year. This was his first public drive since his crash.
Simon Pagenaud of France who led every qualifying session over the weekend and was pole sitter, had an almost perfect race. He led for most of the race and after 85 laps of excitement took the checkered flag for his first win in Toronto. He was followed by Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi with James Hinchcliffe coming in 6th (after starting in 14th position). Brazil represented by Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist came in 17th and 19th respectively.
NASCAR Pinty’s Series features 12 events across five Canadian provinces and boasts Canada’s brightest stars and biggest talents, from multi-time champions D.J. Kennington and Andrew Ranger, to notable names like Alex Tagliani and L.P. Dumoulin.
The race brought out the competitive spirit in all drivers and Alex Tagliani (a former IndyCar driver) qualified in pole position and eventually went on to win the race. Alex Tagliani was followed by Andrew Ranger and L.P. Dumoulin.
Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires features some of the best up and coming competitors as they try to reach the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in America, the NTT IndyCar Series. The Road to Indy featured double headers this weekend with a race each on Saturday and Sunday. This series is comprised of three race series including:
- Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires.
- The first race was led by pole sitter Aaron Telitz (USA) who led all 35 laps for a flag-to-flag victory in the first race followed by Oliver Askew (USA) and Rinus VeeKay (Netherlands). Lucas Kohl of Brazil came in 7th.
- The second race was won by the pole sitter Oliver Askew followed by Toby Sowery (England) and Rinus VeeKay. Lucas Kohl was 7th.
- Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires.
- The first race was won by Danial Frost (Singapore) followed by Rasmus Lindh (Sweden) and Parker Thompson (Canada) – pole sitter was Kyle Kirkwood (USA)
- The second race was won by Kyle Kirkwood followed by Parker Thomson and Rashmus Lindh – pole sitter was Kyle Kirkwood
- Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
- The first race was won by Darren Keane (USA) followed by Christian Rasmussen (Denmark) and Hunter McElrea (USA) – pole sitter was Christian Rasmussen. Brazil’s Bruna Tomaselli placed 11th and Eduardo Barrichello placed 15th.
- The second race was won by Christian Rasmussen followed by Darren Keane and Matt Round-Garrido (England) – pole sitter was Darren Keane. Brazil’s Bruna Tomaselli placed 7th and Eduardo Barrichello placed 17th.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama features semi-professional drivers racing head to head in one of the largest single-make series in North America. This series also had two races, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Despite rain delays on Saturday, Roman DeAngelis (Canada) continued his dominance of the series and won on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday in the first race, Roman DeAngelis was followed by Jeff Kingsley (Canada) and Parker Thompson (Canada). Parker Thompson raced in both the Indy Pro 2000 and the Porsche GT3 series. For the second race on Sunday, Roman DeAngelis was followed by Jeff Kingsley and Michael DiMeo (Canada).
Stadium SUPER Trucks feature identically prepared high-horsepower trucks. The versatile off-road trucks race on virtually any surface, and in 2019 will be featured at IndyCar venues, NASCAR races and other large events that will expose the great sport of off-road racing to the masses. The Stadium Super Trucks are extremely entertaining with their jumps, cornering on two wheels and the Although these trucks are racing, the fun is in watching them with their jumps.
Overall the weekend was a huge success with a lot of thrills and entertainment for everyone young and old.