IndyCar Series: Josef Newgarden edges Alexander Rossi to win in Toronto

By The Sports Xchange  |  July 16, 2017 at 7:44 PM
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TORONTO -- Josef Newgarden took another step toward proving why Roger Penske hired him last year, winning his second Verizon IndyCar Series race for Team Penske.

Newgarden, who won at Barber Motorsports Park in April, won Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto in convincing fashion. The native of Hendersonville, Tenn., now has five career IndyCar wins.

Newgarden finished 1.87 seconds ahead of Alexander Rossi in an 85-lap street race. Newgarden won the 2015 race here for Ed Carpenter Racing. Rossi scored only his second IndyCar podium finish, the other being the win in the 2016 Indianapolis 500.

James Hinchcliffe, an Ontario native from nearby Oakville, finished third to the delight of the large crowd at Exhibition Place.

Marco Andretti finished fourth with pole winner Simon Pagenaud fifth.

Newgarden's win pulled him within 23 points of the series lead. He said the only "problem" was that this win came at a track where he has previously won.

"It would have been nice to give the (crew) guys a win where I haven't won before," he said.

Newgarden now has two wins at this venue and two at Barber, a permanent road course east of Birmingham, Ala. His other win came at Iowa Speedway, a short track.

Like his win here in 2015, Newgarden benefited from a timely caution flag. This time, the three race leaders had not pitted when the yellow came.

"I think that is twice I have had good calls and got into the pits at the right time," Newgarden said. "Thank you to (team president) Tim (Cindric) for making that call. We got it right."

Pagenaud was happy for Newgarden, his teammate, but he wished the caution had come at a different time.

"I think we had the strongest car today," he said.

The race had minimal trouble, but the first of it came on the opening lap. Graham Rahal appeared to slow up to avoid Pagenaud, when cars began stacking up. Rahal's slight move to the left caused Scott Dixon to move into Will Power's path, and the contact between Dixon and Power created damage on both cars.

Power's car got the worst of it, breaking a right-front suspension piece. Dixon got a flat tire, plus more. Power's day ended with a last-place finish; Dixon finished 10th, losing five points off his series points lead. He leads Helio Castroneves by three with five races left.

After Tony Kanaan's first pit stop, the bumpy approach to Turn 1 became too much to handle, and the one-time series champion couldn't get the brakes applied, causing him to enter the corner too fast, and he hit the tire barrier. Needing to be pulled out cost him two laps to the leaders.

NOTES: Simon Pagenaud's pole here Saturday was his first of the season. Last year he won a series-leading eight on his way to capturing the season championship. ... Esteban Gutierrez raced a day after a hard crash in Turn 11 in qualifying. The Mexican driver was initially diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms, but he was cleared after resting overnight. ... Josef Newgarden led 58 of the 85 laps. Helio Castroneves led 24. ...The event has extended primary sponsorship with Honda Canada through 2020, ensuring the future of the race, which began in 1986. ...While IndyCar's next race isn't until July 30 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, series officials will unveil the new car look July 25 with a two-day test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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