By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
TORONTO — Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal and Alexander Rossi have all won for Honda on Verizon IndyCar Series street circuit races and the top three drivers in Friday’s opening practice session for the Honda Indy Toronto are looking to give Honda their first win in Toronto since 2013.
Dixon was the last Honda driver to win north of the border in 2013 and starting second will certainly help the Chip Ganassi Racing driver’s charge and with Honda drivers leading every practice session before qualifying certainly gives a bit of a psychological edge but not so much for Dixon.
“It’s nice to have stats like that but you can’t really dwell on them or use that to your advantage,” said Dixon. “Each weekend you try to make the most of it and do the best that you can so it’s no different this weekend to the next.”
Rossi won this year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and will start fifth in his No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda. The Andretti Autosport racing driver nearly won at St. Petersburg this year before a collision with Robert Wickens dropped the California native from the top step of the podium.
“What (Honda’s) done for us in terms of drivability and power and performance and reliability, I mean that’s attributed to the street course wins that we’ve had and we’ve swept it as Honda teams so that’s great and hopefully we can close it out this week and give it all 100%,” said Rossi.
Graham Rahal has a pair of distinctions regarding manufacturer races. He’s the last Honda driver to win a Honda-sponsored race at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2015 and he swept the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit in 2017.
“I think if you can get the balance of the car right, you’re going to have a good shot at winning,” said You know, you look at the Andretti cars, Rossi in particular at Long Beach, they got the balance right and bam, he was there. Dixon and (Ryan) Hunter-Reay in Detroit on Sunday, really really really strong. St. Pete was obviously Wickens and Rossi back and forth and we were right there to grab it and obviously so was (Sebastien) Bourdais but you know, I would say for sure they’ve done a good job and I think the teams have done a good job stepping up their game.”
Rahal will start 13th so he has a small mountain to climb.