Ontario’s Robert Wickens give the command today for IndyCar drivers to start their engines

What a great day for Indy fans as Celebrities, a military march and flyover added to the festivities to kick off the big race.

Robert Wickens drove an Arrow-modified Acura NSX in the pre-race for today’s NTT IndyCar Series race at the Honda Indy Toronto, but the Guelph, Ont.-native also gave the command for 22 IndyCar drivers to start their engines.

For Wickens, it was a grand welcome home as he continues his recovery and rehabilitation from injuries sustained in an Indy race accident last August. A personal highlight of his racing career was finishing third last year in Toronto during his rookie IndyCar season for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Also part of the pre-race was the popular three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves driving the Honda Fastest Seat in Sports, the two-seater Indy car powered by Honda. Winter Olympics medalist figure skater Adam Rippon was Castroneves’ passenger in its back seat for a high-speed ride around the 2.89-kilometer, 11 turn street circuit on Exhibition Place. Both Helio and Adam share a common link as past “Dancing with the Stars” competitors and Mirror Ball Champions.

The military also played an integral role as always and they were saluted with much fanfare.  Led by the MRZR and followed by the G-Wagon, the marching contingent of over 300 Canadian Armed Forces members from across Ontario began the ceremonies. Members of the Canadian Army, the 4th Canadian Division Headquarters and 32 Canadian Brigade Group presented the Canadian Flag colours.

The 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron CF-18 Hornets from Canadian Forces Base Bagotville, Que. did a rip-roaring flyover of Exhibition Place grounds. 

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