Coming on the heels of scoring Honda’s 200th IndyCar race win last weekend at Pocono Raceway, Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon became the first back-to-back winner in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series, driving to victory Saturday on the Exhibition Place street circuit in the first of two races this weekend making up the Honda Indy Toronto. Teammate and pole qualifier Dario Franchitti finished third, after surviving last-lap contact with Will Power while battling for position.
Starting fifth, Dixon moved to fourth on Lap Seven and continued in that position early on, as Franchitti led the first 20 laps. A quick first pit stop moved Dixon to third behind new leader Power during the second stint, setting the stage for the definitive moments of the race during the second and final round of stops. Leader Power pitted on Lap 61, while Dixon remained out for an additional circuit. The extra lap on track before his final stop – courtesy of excellent Honda fuel mileage – combined with a very fast “in-lap” and quick work from the Target Chip Ganassi crew to help Dixon emerge from the stop with a narrow advantage over Sebastien Bourdais, Power and Franchitti.
Multi-car contact on Lap 64, which included the Honda-powered entries of Justin Wilson and Charlie Kimball, led to a five-lap caution period. Bourdais took the advantage on the Lap 69 restart, passing Dixon for the lead, while Franchitti made his way past Power for third as the field completed the 70th of 85 laps. Six laps later, Dixon regained the lead, passing a fading Bourdais while heading into Turn Three at the end of the long Lakeshore Blvd. straight.
On Lap 81, Alex Tagliani spun after light contact from Simon Pagenaud as the Honda drivers battled for position, leading to the final full-course caution of the day. Three laps later, the green flag waved again for one final lap of racing. Dixon remained in command at the front, with Bourdais second.
But as Franchitti and Power headed into Turn Three, Franchitti moved to the inside of the track, attempting to force Power to use the outside line for a passing attempt. Instead, Power went for the inside, where he made light contact with both Franchitti and the inside wall before sliding wide and making further contact with the outside tire barrier, dropping him to 15th at the finish. Franchitti persevered to finish third, and a post-race review of the contact confirmed the finishing order.
Qualifying for Sunday’s second race of the Honda Indy Toronto weekend was held this morning, with Dixon securing Honda’s fifth pole of 2013 – and the fifth Honda pole in eight road/street circuit races this season. Teammate Franchitti qualified second, making it an all-Honda front row for Sunday’s second 85-lap race in this road-racing doubleheader. Sunday’s race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.
Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Racing Honda Dallara) started 5th, finished 1st; his 31st IndyCar win and 2nd consecutive victory in 2013: “I want to give a big shout out to all the fans here in Toronto, they’re just fantastic. I love coming here and now we’ve finally got a win to show for it. I thought Sebastien [Bourdais] definitely jumped the last restart, but we had the speed in hand and were able to get past him. These are always tough races here, and having a second race [on Sunday] is going to make it even harder, but our car was fantastic all day. This is what we needed to get some momentum and start a run for the championship.”
Dario Franchitti (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara) started 1st, finished 3rd [on his last-lap contact with Will Power]: “I was defending my position. I gave him the outside line, but he tried the inside where there was only half a car width [of room]. He hit me and then hit the wall.”
Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race and Honda victory: \"What a hard-fought race, with a well-earned victory by Scott Dixon. It’s great to see the Target Chip Ganassi team back and firing on all cylinders, and to see our Honda Performance Development effort continue to gain momentum as we enter the second half of the season. We had a great crowd here in Toronto today for the first half of this weekend’s doubleheader, and everyone at HPD is working hard tonight to complete a weekend sweep, just as we accomplished in Detroit last month.”