By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
Josef Newgarden benefitted from a little bit of racing luck as he scored his second win of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season by winning the Honda Indy Toronto.
The start was chaotic as Helio Castroneves went from third to first at the first corner, moving polesitter Simon Pagenaud to second with Graham Rahal behind. Heading down to Turn 3, Will Power was squeezed to the outside wall by Scott Dixon while trying to avoid Rahal.
Power’s steering was damaged enough where he could not successfully navigate pit road after making it around the track. He would retire, finishing 21st. Dixon was able to make it back to pit road where his rear wing was changed and he was handed a drive-thru penalty for unauthorized work under a closed pit.
The race restarted on Lap 7 with Castroneves leading Pagenaud, Rahal, Newgarden and Hinchcliffe. The big charger at this point was Spencer Pigot, moving to fourth place during the first stint. However, another full course yellow would put Pigot’s charge on a halt.
Tony Kanaan was coming out of the pits on Lap 24 and tried to put together a fast out lap but unfortunately the No. 10 NTT Data Honda found itself in the first turn tire barrier.
The leaders that hadn’t stopped yet found themselves behind almost every car that had already stopped. Enter Newgarden’s good luck.
Much like last year when Tim Cindric called Will Power into the pits right before a caution came out, Cindric did the same thing this year with his new driver and the decision paid dividends.
The green flag came out with Josef Newgarden leading the yet-to-stop Ed Jones and the early stopping Charlie Kimball. After Jones fell a few places and Kimball pitted, Alexander Rossi and Hinchcliffe were second and third during much of the mid-race action.
With a chance of rain later in the race, many drivers pitted with just over 30 laps to go but would have to be on a fuel saving strategy for the rest of the race but the rain never came.
Newgarden would lead 58 laps to score his second win at Toronto. Rossi finished second after starting eighth while hometown hero James Hinchcliffe finished third ahead of Marco Andretti and Simon Pagenaud in the top five.
Unofficially Dixon’s points lead is now three over Castroneves. Castroneves finished eighth, Dixon finished tenth.
Newgarden is looking forward to Mid Ohio but he has another victory on his mind.
“I would like to win somewhere that I haven’t won.,” Newgarden said. “I won at Barber, and then we won again there. I have already won here and we won again here with Team Penske. I would like to get these guys another win where I haven’t won before, because that would be really great for me and for the entire group. So hopefully we can get that at Mid-Ohio.”