Race Preview: Streets of TorontoINDYCAR
Chip Ganassi Racing will head north of the border this weekend to defend their win from last season at the Honda Indy Toronto race.
Alex Palou enters having won three races in a row, now holding a commanding 110-point lead in the championship chase. Palou and the No. 10 team will look to strengthen their lead and seize a fourth consecutive victory, something no INDYCAR driver has done since 2006 (Bourdais).
Palou will be racing in a fresh livery this weekend in the blue and yellow No. 10 Journie Rewards Honda. Journie Rewards is a loyalty program for individuals who frequent On The Run and the family of convenience stores owned by Parkland Corporation, which is based in Canada.
Scott Dixon, now second in the points standings after a P2 drive at Mid-Ohio, will look to defend his win from last year on the Streets of Toronto. Dixon captured the checkered flag in a highly competitive race, as a track-record 20 drivers finished on the lead lap.
INDYCAR has held (2023: Detroit, St. Petersburg; 2022: Nashville, Toronto).
The team has enjoyed plenty of success at Toronto especially, boasting more race wins (8) than any other team in track history. CGR has also claimed pole position five times before on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn street circuit.
CGR has moreover exhibited their prowess in street course races over an extended period. Since series reunification in 2008, CGR drivers sit 1-2-3 in terms of highest average finishing result (min. 5 races) on such circuits (Alex Palou – 6.64; Dario Franchitti – 7.68; Scott Dixon – 8.18).
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Alex Palou - No. 10 Journie Rewards Honda
"Excited for Toronto this weekend, where we will break in the new Journie Rewards livery. I think it will look great and shiny out there on the track. Obviously, I’m excited to race after a third win in a row at Mid-Ohio. It feels like we have been able to maximize things every race weekend this year in the No. 10 Honda. Last year, we were able to win the race at Toronto with Scott. It was an amazing weekend, and we know we are going to have fast cars again this year. Hopefully, we can hit our targets in practice and get ready for a very important qualifying."
INDYCAR points leader Alex Palou has won three consecutive races (Mid-Ohio; Road America; Detroit) and is looking to become the first INDYCAR driver to win four in a row since Sebastien Bourdais in 2006.
Palou is in search of valuable points to tack on to his 110-point championship lead this weekend. To put that into perspective, since series reunification in 2008, the average points margin by the series leader through nine races has been just 32.2 points.
Despite starting from P22 at Toronto last year in his first career race at the circuit, Palou navigated his way to a P6 finish.
Palou is aiming to become just the fifth driver in the history of the sport to win multiple championships at 26-or-younger (Sebastien Bourdais: 2004-05; Sam Hornish Jr.: 2001-02; A.J. Foyt: 1960-61; Louis Meyer: 1928-29).
Scott Dixon - No. 9 PNC Bank Honda
"I think it's been a pretty fun track for us in the past. We've definitely had some great results as a team and obviously going back to where we won last year. I love the crowd here and wish we had more Canadian races. The one goal is to try to win it and to try and keep this championship headed in the right direction. All of CGR is looking really strong right now and Honda, as well. We'll keep working, keep our heads down and we'll see what it brings."
Dixon returns to the Streets of Toronto where he notched his 52nd all-time victory last year, which matched Mario Andretti for 2nd on the all-time wins list. The victory was the fourth of his career on the Toronto street circuit (2022; 2018; 2013 Races 1/2).
The Kiwi has been an absolute ace across all street circuits. Since series reunification in 2008, Dixon has registered 10 wins (2nd-most), 711 laps led (2nd-most), 43 top 5’s (most) and 55 top 10’s (most) in the 80 such races over that span.
Dixon has demonstrated superb qualifying pace this season, as only Palou (7) has advanced to more Firestone Fast 6 appearances than Dixon (6).
Marcus Ericsson - No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda
"We obviously want to bounce back after the disappointing race in Mid-Ohio for me and the No. 8 team. We're returning to a street course, which I enjoy driving at. We had a strong race there last year, Scott obviously winning, and Alex and I being competitive, too. I love street course racing in general. I think it's a lot of fun and we've had quite a few wins over the past couple years. It's always great going to Toronto, as it is a fantastic city and the atmosphere around the track is always great. We've got an exciting weekend ahead and I'm very much looking forward to it."
Ericsson enters Toronto sitting fourth in the championship standings, just six points away from breaking back into the top-three.
He piloted the No. 8 Honda to a P5 finish in last year’s race at Toronto after beginning from P9.
Ericsson has had a significant amount of street course success since joining CGR in 2020. During that period, he has accumulated the most wins (3) among all drivers on such tracks, along with 11 top-10 finishes (tied for the third-most).
Marcus Armstrong - No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda
"I've never been to Canada before and it's my first time racing there obviously. The track looks really cool. I've always liked the idea of racing in Toronto since I was a kid. I really enjoyed watching the racing even though it's a different layout now. I feel like I've been performing well on street tracks this year. The car feels really good, especially on this type of track, and I feel very confident heading into the weekend despite seeing it for the first time."
Armstrong has adapted quickly to INDYCAR street course racing, picking up a P11 finish at St. Petersburg and P8 finishes at both Long Beach and Detroit.
The pilot of the No. 11 Honda leads the Rookie of the Year chase with 130 points despite not racing on ovals. He is looking to become the 5th CGR driver to win the award (2019: Rosenqvist; 1999: Montoya; 1996: Zanardi; 1990: Cheever Jr.).
Source: Chip Ganassi Racing