What: Honda Indy Toronto / Race 10 of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series
Where: Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ont. – street track
When: Sunday, July 16, 1:30pm ET (green flag 1:53pm ET)
The NTT IndyCar Series heads north of the border for its annual rumble on the streets of Toronto, Ont. With nine races in the books and only eight to go, it could be a pivotal weekend for anyone with ambitions to chase down runaway championship leader Alex Palou and his increasingly gargantuan points lead.
Winding around Exhibition Place, close to the shore of Lake Ontario, the tight 11-turn, 1.786-mile track lends itself to some opportunistic passing moves, although many times there’s only one car making it out unscathed. The long front straight leading into the right-hander Princes’ Gate Turn 1 and the Lakeshore Boulevard straight leading into a hard 90-degree right-hander at Turn 3 are the most obvious places for overtaking, but the Turn 5 left-hander and Turn 8’s 90-degree right-hander formed by the intersection of Manitoba Drive into Nova Scotia Avenue can come into play for some ‘Hail Mary’ passing attempts, too.
Scott Dixon is Palou’s nearest challenger in the standings, albeit 110 points (more than the haul from two race wins and every bonus point on offer) behind his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate. But while Palou is on a roll of four wins from the last five races, Dixon is the form man when it comes to Toronto. He’s won four times, including last year (below), and will be looking to close the gap as the series heads for its home stretch.
In the last 10 Toronto races, the winner has come from the front row five times – three from the pole and two from the second slot (that man Dixon in 2018 and ’22). As noted, passing moves come with a fairly high degree of risk, but Josef Newgarden is the guy when it comes to winning from further back in the pack. He started seventh for his 2017 win, and all the way back in 11th for a 2015 victory. The Team Penske driver sits third in the standings, 116 points off of Palou, so he’ll be a man on a mission in Hogtown, too.
Sunday afternoon’s Honda Indy Toronto is scheduled for 85 laps and 151.81 miles. There’s the chance of rain on Saturday and for race day, and with temperatures set to nudge 80 degrees on Sunday, it could be a real workout for the 27-car field – not least IndyCar debutant Tom Blomqvist, who subs for a still-recovering Simon Pagenaud at Meyer Shank Racing following the Frenchman’s multiple rolls at Mid-Ohio. NTT IndyCar Series cars aren’t fitted with power steering, so IMSA ace Blomqvist will certainly feel it on Monday morning…
You can follow all the practice and qualifying action on Peacock on Friday, July 14, and Saturday, July 15, with Peacock also your go-to location for race day on Sunday, July 16. And to get even closer to it all, grab the best seat in the house with the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA and its 11 race day live onboard cameras.
Friday, July 14 / 3:00pm – 4:15pm ET – Practice 1 – Peacock
Saturday, July 15 / 10:35am – 11:35am ET – Practice 2 – Peacock
Saturday, July 15 / 2:50pm – 4:20pm ET – Qualifying – Peacock
Sunday, July 16 / 10:15am – 10:45am ET – Warmup – Peacock
Sunday, July 16 / 1:30pm – 4:00pm ET – RACE – Peacock
* All sessions and the race are also available as audio commentary on SiriusXM and INDYCAR Radio.
Ride along with the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA
Taking you inside the action, 11 drivers will be carrying in-car cameras. During the race, you can live-stream every one of them with the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA. You choose who you ride along with, and you can switch drivers at any time. The App’s free to download for fans worldwide and you can find out more HERE. If you’re not already onboard, take your viewing experience to a whole new level HERE.
Bringing you the onboard action from the Honda Indy Toronto are…
Colton Herta / No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda
How hasn’t this guy won a race in 2023, part 1. Last two races, Herta’s started on pole and gone on to lead 33 laps at Road America, then 26 laps at Mid-Ohio (below). On current form, he’s the driver to beat, but he and his No. 26 Andretti Autosport crew have only beaten themselves. A premature pit stop at Road America left him fifth at the checkers, and a pitlane speeding penalty tumbled him down to 11th in Ohio. Kill the errors, put a whole weekend together, and the 2022 Toronto pole winner and runner-up could be heading for victory lane on Sunday.
Pato O’Ward / No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet
How hasn’t this guy won a race in 2023, part 2. He’s fifth in points, has four podiums so far, including three second-place finishes, but O’Ward just hasn’t been able to convert race-winning potential into a victory yet. Crashes at Long Beach, Indy and Detroit haven’t helped the cause, but you can expect the spectacular Mexican and the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevy to be a threat for the win again this weekend.
Will Power / No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet
How hasn’t this guy won a race in 2023, part 3. The defending NTT IndyCar Series champ has been on the podium in two of the last three races, but looks a tick behind when it comes to challenging for the victory, relative to the Alex Palou/Chip Ganassi Racing barrage. Rediscovering his scintillating qualifying form of yore and starting a little further up the grid might help his cause. Regardless, the Team Penske ace remains calm and resolute, and that breakout weekend is surely coming. Will it be in Toronto? Don’t rule it out.
Kyle Kirkwood / No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda
The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach winner has shed a little momentum since taking that first IndyCar victory back in April. But two top-10 finishes in the last three races and third on the grid at Mid-Ohio last time out are proof positive that the momentum’s returning. Toronto’s a track he relishes, with three wins between the walls during his rise through the junior open-wheel ranks, and it could be another strong showing this time around. Podium contention? Definitely. Something more? Could be.
Scott McLaughlin / No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet
McLaughlin won at Barber in April, but hasn’t stood on a podium since. Still, you kind of sense there’s a big weekend coming up for the Team Penske driver (below), and that his three top-10 finishes in the last three races were the calm before the storm. Street courses were his bread and butter during his seasons of Australian Supercars dominance, and he’s already notched up a win between the walls of St. Pete in 2022, so look out for the Kiwi to be a major factor in Toronto.
Felix Rosenqvist / No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet
Coming off the back of two disappointing races at Road America and Mid-Ohio, Rosenqvist will be looking for a return to the fighting form that delivered a podium on the streets of downtown Detroit last month. Sooner rather than later, someone’s going to break Arrow McLaren’s win drought. Could it be the Swede, and could it be on the shore of Lake Ontario on Sunday?
Alexander Rossi / No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet
A podium at the Indy Grand Prix aside, Rossi’s big “welcome to Arrow McLaren” moment is still to arrive. He and engineer Craig Hampson are in tune, but like his teammates, Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, the 206 Indy 500 winner is struggling to put together a coherent season. Finishing only 10th at Road America and Mid-Ohio lowered the trajectory he’d been on through Indy and Detroit, but it doesn’t feel like a trend just yet, and two career podiums in Toronto say this might be the weekend to ratchet things up again.
Graham Rahal / No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
After qualifying second at Mid-Ohio and contending for a podium until a couple of minor pit stop mishaps shuffled him to seventh, Rahal (below) heads to Toronto with a real chance of continuing the upward trend. Execution is key, and Rahal is looking for the RLL crew to cut out those pitlane errors, but Toronto delivered his best result of 2022 with a fourth-place finish. Can he match that, or even better it?
Callum Ilott / No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet
It’s time for Ilott and his Juncos Hollinger Racing team to rediscover the buzz and momentum that gave them top-10 finishes in the opening two races of the campaign. Since then, things have been something of a slog, but if it even half clicks in Toronto, the 2020 Formula 2 runner-up could be back on top-10 – or higher – form again.
Christian Lundgaard /No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Like his teammate Graham Rahal, Lundgaard enjoyed RLL’s Mid-Ohio uptick, qualifying fifth, then running strongly in the race to match his season-best finish of fourth. Lundgaard started 10th and finished eight on his first visit to Toronto last year, the track where he felt he and the team began to make forward progress. Something similar this time around and the Danish road-racing specialist might even be a podium contender.
Tom Blomqvist / No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda
With Simon Pagenaud sitting Toronto out after his wild ride during Mid-Ohio practice, MSR’s highly-regarded 2022 IMSA DPi champ Blomqvist gets called up for his NTT IndyCar Series debut. The British-born Swede (below) did test an MSR IndyCar machine last year, but with no time to hit the sim before heading to a track he’s never raced on before, it’s going to be a weekend of drinking from the firehose. “I don’t know what to expect,” Blomqvist told RACER. “I’ve never been so unsure in my life about how this is going to pan out; I feel like it’s going to be better than expected or it’s going to be really, really tough.” Either way, he’s excited about the opportunity, and it’ll be fascinating to ride along onboard.
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