Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will start tomorrow’s Honda Indy Toronto from pole position after securing what he described as a ‘surprise’ Verizon P1 Award on Saturday afternoon. Dixon’s time was a 59.9073s. The New Zealander stated:
I was a little disappointed on the first few laps when I kept seeing the track and I was thinking, ‘Man, this isn’t going really well.’ Then on the second to last lap they said, ‘you’re P2. Get to 59.9 for P1.’ I just stayed on it and obviously, the smooth run in the latter part. I kind of made a little mistake in Turn 8 but I’m so happy for the Target guys. They’ve done a hell of a job. We when a little bit with speed. You’ve got to leave it to qualifying, that’s when it makes the most. But tomorrow is race day and hopefully we will put on a great show for all the fans here. It’s definitely going to be interesting. Going two wide is going to be difficult tomorrow for the start. But I think we should be good. Just looking forward to starting up front. It’s definitely key for the track and what we have right now.
Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet will start the race from the front row alongside Dixon having just missed out on pole by a whisker.
Series points leader Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet will start the race from third place on the grid after setting a fastest time of 01:00.2293s and will start the race just ahead of his Penske team mate Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet.
Sebastien Bourdais’ good run continued as the Frenchman in the No.11 Team Hydroxycut Chevrolet will start race from fifth place for KVSH Racing.
It was a great session for home favourite James Hinchcliffe who will start the race from sixth place on the grid after setting a Fast Six time of 01:01.5637s and will start the race just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly while Josef Newgarden in the No.21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet will roll off from eighth place.
Juan Pablo Montoya had a good session all things considered following a tough start to his weekend which was compounded by an engine change this morning, the Colombian starts Sunday’s race from ninth place while Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Mikhail Aleshin in the No.7 SMP Racing Honda rounds out the top ten.
Luca Filippi did a great job for Dale Coyne Racing on his return to IndyCar as the Italian will start the race from 11th place just ahead of Tony Kanaan in the No.10 NTT DATA Chevrolet.
Jack Hawksworth did a good job for AJ Foyt Racing as he will start Sunday’s race from 13th place on the grid just ahead of fellow Brit Max Chilton in the No.8 Gallagher Chevrolet. Carlos Munoz was the leading Andretti Autosport driver and will start the race from 15th place just ahead of Graham Rahal.
Munoz commented by saying;
Another bad qualifying for the team. Personally, I think I got everything I could out of the car. It’s not like we are not trying; we are trying everything we can. As a team we are working really hard to be back in the front. It’s Toronto… Anything can happen tomorrow and maybe with a little bit of luck we can get up front. We are still working on it and will never give up.
Speaking following the session, Rahal commented by saying:
I went for it on the last lap and I hit the fence. The car has been ill-handling. We’ve been in the top eight so I think it’s given us a false sense of security. I told the guys before the session that it was going to take a magic lap to advance and I knew it because our basic balance all weekend has been killing the rear tires. We can’t put power down at all. We lose 2.5 tenths (of a second) just in the hairpin because we can’t put power down and in Turn 6 we have a ton of under steer and, on the last lap in qualifying, I went for it, the car went straight and just tagged the wall. That lap wasn’t going to be better no matter what which is frustrating because these guys deserve better. We are struggling to make improvements this weekend so far. We’re going to throw the kitchen sink at it to hopefully improve for the race and get the Rousseau Metal Honda to the front.
Charlie Kimball in the No.83 NovoNordisk Chevrolet starts the race from 16th place just ahead of the Andretti Autosport duo of Ryan Hunter Reay and Alexander Rossi. Speaking following the session Hunter Reay stated:
“What we’re missing is overall grip and compliance – it’s so important on a track like this. We’re not even on the same planet as the front runners right now when it comes to grip. You can just watch them through (Turns) 9 and 10 in front of the pits. You can watch all of our cars, it just seems like we’re really fighting the cars. When you’re talking about something as close as the two-tenths (of a second) we needed to advance, it’s just so hard to put a lap together when you don’t have enough grip to deal with it. We’ll look at it, but all our cars are together (on the grid). As a team we have to work on it, because we shouldn’t be here. It’s really unfortunate; it’s not fun at the moment.”
Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi commented by saying:
It was a pretty abysmal qualifying, I think. We went in with high hopes after the final practice this morning but nothing seemed to come together this afternoon. It’s very disappointing to have to start where we do, especially on a track that is challenging to make a pass. We’re going to need a bit of luck on our side tomorrow.
Takuma Sato in the No.14 ABC Supply Co AJ Foyt Racing Honda will start the race from 20th place just ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot in the No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. Marco Andretti in the No.27 Dr Pepper Honda rounded out the grid in 22nd place with a time of 01:01.4384s and speaking following the session he stated:
(Qualifying is) a tough one to talk about. We are just lacking grip all around. I did a stint on (the Firestone alternate) reds and it felt like I was on blacks. We need to find more grip for not just the Dr Pepper car, but for the team.