The Honda Indy Toronto was once again full of crashes and spin-outs, but this year it was Dario Franchitti who outlasted the field to take the checkered flag for his fourth victory of the season.
For Franchitti, the 25th anniversary of the race was his third victory on the streets of Toronto as well as the 30th of his career. The Scot finished the 85-lap street course just ahead of his teammate Scott Dixon while Ryan Hunter-Reay finished in third.
The three Canadians in the race struggled as the Oakville, Ontario native James Hinchcliffe having the best result finishing 14th. Paul Tracy of Scarborough, Ontario came in 16th while Alex Tagliani from Lachenaie, Quebec was unable to finish the race.
With eight races remaining, Franchitti now has a 55-point lead over Power in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship point standings.
“It was a wild one, wasn’t it?” said Franchitti after the race. "That was an absolute wild one."
“A crazy day here in Toronto, a one-two finish for Team Target…a one-two is a big achievement and everyone here did a great job.”
The victory was not without controversy as driver Will Power accused Franchitti of being ‘dirty’ after both collided on lap 56 in turn three. Battling for fifth at the time, Power took the turn wide on the outside while Franchitti was on the inside as both went were going through the turn at the same time. Franchitti feared Power would guide him into the wall so he took evasive action and clipped the Australian, spinning out his rival in the process.
“It doesn’t surprise me because he never gets penalized,” said a frustrated Power of Franchitti after being knocked out of the race.
“It’s a pretty dirty move. That guy – does anyone ever penalize this guy – as dirty as you like…I’m really disappointed with Dario. I always race him clean and he always races me dirty…the guy who mouths off about everyone and he’s the guy that races the most dirty, never gets a penalty from IndyCar, it’s just not right.”
Franchitti responded to Power’s comments after the race.
“I was trying to get out of it but couldn’t,” said Franchitti. “I couldn’t get out of it quickly enough to avoid hitting him (Power). But I think Will has equal blame, in that he came down across like I wasn’t there when it was clear that we could go through that corner side by side and a lot people, including myself, did so all day.”
“I don’t think I’m known through the paddock as a driver who races people dirty…so I’m not really sure what he’s talking about on that. But I will say in his defence, had that happened to me today, I would have been steamed too when I got out of the car.”
Power, who held the pole position when the day started, did stay in the race before being knocked out in a separate incident with Tagliani on lap 66. The Canadian, who is well known for a being a dirty and aggressive driver, clipped Power from behind, sending the Australian into the tire barrier. Power won this race last year but certainly had his share of bad luck on Sunday.
The Indy race in Toronto has reputation for having a tough track as well as being accident prone and Sunday was no exception. In total, six cars were knocked out of the race, including top-ten drivers Power, Tagliani and Tony Kanaan. In fact, Kanaan was knocked out on just the second lap after having contact with Ryan Briscoe and was sent partially airborne.
“It was so stupid when he (Briscoe) had plenty of room,” said a disappointed Kanaan. I don’t know what he did, but right at the beginning of the race, why do you want to do that, plenty of room to pass.”
Once again turn three proved hazardous for another pair of drivers on lap 30 as Helio Castroneves made contact with Tagliani, spinning out the Canadian into a tire barrier. After the re-start, the other Canadians in the race, Tracy and Hinchcliffe, came in close contact on the 38 th lap. Although both cars suffered minor damage, it was Tracy who spun out and was forced to pit.
Tracy was involved again in another collision ten laps later when he made contact with Vitor Meira that also involved Charlie Kimball and Sebastien Bourdais. However, all cars were able to continue on course.
After Tagliani knocked out Power, the favour was returned to him courtesy of Danica Patrick on lap 71 in turn three. Patrick made contact with both James Jakes and Tagliani, but the Canadian got the worst of it as he ended up sideways against the track before landing back down on his wheels.
Graham Rahal, who was poised for a podium finish, saw his solid race fall apart when he was bumped by Hunter-Reay on lap 80 and subsequently spun out. With only five laps remaining, Franchitti was able to hold off Dixon giving Team Target the one-two finish.
The next stop on the series is the Edmonton Indy and takes place on July 24.
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