(TORONTO, ON) – Josef Newgarden capitalized on fortunate pit strategy to drive to victory in the Honda Indy Toronto, the 12th IndyCar Series race of the 2017 season. Driving the No. 2 Chevrolet, Newgarden won by 1.8704 seconds over Alexander Rossi to pick up his fifth career win and second of the season.
Hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe finished third for the second straight year at Toronto.
“The yellow just came at the right time, but we had the pace at the end there. We were catching Alexander (Rossi) and Josef (Newgarden) in that last stint,” said the mayor of Hinchtown. “The car really came alive on the blacks, so big thanks to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, all the guys, great stops, and all the fans in Toronto. I mean the support that we feel each and every year is amazing. You guys are the best.”
Newgarden made his first pit stop on Lap 23 just as Tony Kanaan was sliding into the tire barrier in Turn 1. The ensuing full-course caution allowed Newgarden to take the lead when other front-runners pitted under yellow.
“I think that is twice I have had good calls and got into the pits at the right time,” said Newgarden. “I thought we had a very fast car, we got a pretty good start, and stayed out of the mayhem. I am pumped for all the No. 2 car guys today, they did an amazing job for Team Penske today.”
Newgarden went on to lead 58 of the 85 laps. Though he didn’t lead a lap, Rossi drove to his best Verizon IndyCar Series finish since winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500.
“This finish has been a long time coming,” said the 3rd place Rossi. “We had the Indy win, but I’ve been looking for that first podium and hopefully this will be a foundation to go and chase more wins.
Points leader Scott Dixon collided with Will Power on the opening lap, flattening the left rear tire on Dixon’s No. 9 Honda. While he was able to continue, Dixon finished in 10th place and saw his points lead dwindle to three points over Helio Castroneves.
“I had a good start in Turn 1, and it looked like (Graham) Rahal decided to shift lanes and I had to avoid him. Then (Will) Power and I got together and ended up cutting down our tire and doing some damage to the suspension on the car,” Dixon explained. “Then we had to fix the car and IndyCar gave us a drive-through penalty, which was kind of odd. And then that kind of hosed our best efforts for the day and we ended up 10th.”
Castroneves made a brilliant inside pass heading into Turn 1 on the opening lap to get past pole sitter Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal for the lead. Castroneves led the first 24 laps before the Kanaan incident brought out the caution flag.
The driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet, who won last week’s Iowa Corn 300, finished eighth to tighten the championship battle with five races remaining. Marco Andretti finished fourth in the No. 27 Honda, his best showing since a third-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in June 2015.
The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 30.