INDYCAR: What Drivers Are Saying About This Weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto

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GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rousseau Honda): “It looked like we were going to have a good race last year after starting second. The Rousseau Metal car was solid. We just got really hosed by a yellow that basically put Helio (Castroneves), (Simon) Pagenaud and myself to the back and we were the lead three, so obviously that ruined our day. The car was pretty good though, there were no major complaints. Were we good enough to beat Helio or Pagenaud on that day if we didn’t get hosed by that yellow? I don’t know, but we were certainly a podium contender so it was disappointing not to make it all happen. I’m excited to go back. If I look at our street course performances so far, it’s our strongest package. Hopefully, we can just make it happen. Right now, we need to get a win and need to get some points. Toronto is an iconic event in our sport. There is always great crowd support. Nowadays with Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) and with Robbie (Wickens), I fully expect there to be a ruckus crowd as usual. Hopefully, we can go up there and try to spoil their dreams.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team Mouser Electronics/Molex Honda): “I like the Toronto race. The fans and the atmosphere are really great. The circuit is fun and, other than my first year, my results have been consistently good. Hopefully, we can collect another win there this weekend for our sponsors Mouser Electronics and Molex.”

ZACHARY CLAMAN DE MELO (No. 19 Paysafe Honda): “I’m extremely excited to go to Toronto. I have a lot of friends and family there that will be watching, so it’s a really special race for me. I love the track and I think it should be a fun race. I got a double podium in Toronto last year in Indy Lights, so hopefully I can be strong there again and get a really good result for the team in front of my friends and family.”

JORDAN KING (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I haven’t been to Canada in a very long time so I am actually quite looking forward to going to Toronto. I’ve got some good support from my family coming over, so that will be nice. I’ve been on the simulator but it’s really difficult to say what the track will be like until I get in the car. It seems quite tight and twisty and seems very bumpy, but I’ve also been told it’s been resurfaced in a couple of areas. Learning the circuit as a whole might be a bit easier just because it’s a short one, but it seems to be a very nice track. It will be quite tough to learn all of the small characteristics, where the bumps are, how much curb you can use, how close you can get to the walls. It will be an interesting challenge!”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): “Toronto is always a great event. I really enjoy both the city and the track. It’s one of the most challenging street courses that we go to. It’s very unique in the amount of surface changes we encounter during a lap. In some cases, you drive over three different surfaces in one corner, so it’s difficult to find a setup that is compliant around the entire circuit. I’m also excited to be back in the blue Preferred Freezer Services car this weekend. Ed Carpenter Racing and I have both had success at Toronto in the past, so we are all really looking forward to this event.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “Toronto is a great track and a great city. I really enjoy going there. It’s on Bastille Day, which is independence day for France. It’s always an interesting weekend with the French touch there. I’m excited. We’ve performed well in the past at Toronto but haven’t had the best luck recently, but we’re ready to turn it around this year for the No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet and perform stronger. I think the fans are going to be interested in seeing the new cars there. They’re very sexy and good-looking. I think the show is going to be even better than it used to be. It’s going to be a lot faster down the straightaway and there’s going to be a lot more sliding around. It’s going to be all good for the show.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Novo Nordisk Chevrolet): “I’m really looking forward to going back to Toronto this weekend. I’ve had some good memories there – my first podium finish and a few strong runs. I’ve read about the road repavement improvements, so it will be interesting to see how it has changed since last year once we take our first laps. With the Diabetes Canada livery on the No. 23 in Toronto, we’ll have both Carlin cars in blue and white, so hopefully we’ll see those colors out front on Sunday.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Relay Group 1001 Honda): “I’ve gone to Toronto for five or six years – and every time I do, I say I’ll end up living there. I love the city, I love the track, I love the people. The whole atmosphere is something that, I think, all of us look forward to every year. Everywhere I’ve gone in an Indy car, it’s been amazing how small the tracks have felt. You go from an Indy Lights car to an Indy car and it just makes the track feel smaller, so it will be cool to see how Toronto feels. I heard they repaved the front straight, so hopefully, it will make for some really good racing.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “I’m super excited to get to Toronto – that was kind of the start to our strong end last year and we’ve been really good on street tracks this year. It’s the last street course on the calendar, and we’re doing our best to capitalize on our performance there and cut down the gap to the leader in the championship. It’s so important to stay consistent at this point in the season with points. You just have to try to maximize the good days and minimize the bad days.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We just need to not have issues in Toronto and have a strong result after our race in Iowa. We’ve won there in the past and hopefully, we can get it again and get a good drive forward going in the points. We need to rack up a couple of wins and close the points gap. Right now, every point counts and that’s what we’re focused on.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “I’m very excited to go back to the Honda Indy Toronto. We think we have a good car for a street course and it’s the final street course of the season, so I really want to have a strong race and I think we can. We have good momentum right now so I hope we can continue in Toronto. Toronto is a challenging track. It’s probably one of the bumpiest tracks of the season and is also challenging because the track surface changes multiple times in one corner, from asphalt to concrete. On the engineering side and the driver’s side, it’s always very challenging because no matter what setup you apply, the cars go all over the place. However, it’s a good track. There is a long straight followed by heavy braking which gives the drivers opportunity for overtaking and make the race exciting for the drivers and the spectators. The weather usually is great but it can be sketchy, which adds another factor and another reason why the Toronto race is always exciting. Toronto is great. It’s a metropolitan city but there are a lot of Japanese communities there as well and Honda Canada makes a huge commitment for the race, so we always have great support from them, too. I love Toronto. There are great restaurants, a great downtown area and enthusiastic fans which make the Honda Indy a great venue for the IndyCar Series. I’m looking forward to it.”

RENE BINDER (No. 32 Binderholz tiptop timber Chevrolet): “This will be my first time in Toronto and from what I have heard it is a pretty nice place to visit. Some drivers say this is one of the most exciting tracks on the INDYCAR schedule. We completed some laps on the Chevrolet race simulator two weeks ago, and we also invested some time in molding my steering wheel, so hopefully, we will be as prepared as possible. Looking back at my first three event weekends in the Verizon IndyCar Series, I have learned a lot. Even though there is a huge lack of experience and track time, my lap times have been competitive at times. Our goal is to have a trouble-free weekend, figure out a great setup with the engineers and to pick up some more championship points for the No. 32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet/Dallara.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet): “I’m looking forward to going to another country next weekend – it’ll be nice to stir things up a bit. Toronto is a great city and, with parts of the track being resurfaced since last year, it’ll be a bit less bumpy than the last time we were there. Hopefully, we can improve on our Detroit pace, which was actually quite quick, and grab a top-10 finish for the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet.”

CONOR DALY (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet): “Obviously, I’m excited to be back in a Chevy-powered Indy car again. I have to thank the Harding Racing team for trusting me with the driving responsibilities this weekend at a track I’ve always loved over the years. It’ll be a new experience for me with this year’s road course aero package, but I intend to give the best feedback I can to the team so we can fine-tune the car for a great race on Sunday.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 Oberto Circle K / Curb Honda): “I’m hoping that going into Toronto, we can build on Detroit. That was a strong weekend for us. Pace is what we need, and I think we have that on the streets. It’s a fun track and the fans are passionate, so we’ll be looking forward to a good weekend.”

Source : https://sports.yahoo.com/indycar-drivers-saying-weekend-honda-230057907.html

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