A Game of Pits and Yellows- Toronto 2016

This is Toronto. There will be caution periods. They will come at or near pit windows. Do you pit early and know that will give you track position, or do you wait until your window opens?  Team Penske played the yellows the right way.  Cautions at the wrong times in Detroit and Iowa cost Helio Castroneves a victory in Detroit and a possible top three in Iowa.  Will Power won the race by pitting early, and Castroneves finished second playing the same strategy. Scott Dixon waited for his pit window to open and lost a race he was controlling when a caution fell just before his scheduled stop.  The result was a setback for Dixon’s title hopes. I don’t think it is a major setback, but he has to now chase down Power as well as points leader Simon Pagenaud.

The race itself featured some great racing. Battles for position were everywhere.  For the most part it was as clean as possible on a narrow track. One driver I did not think drove cleanly was Juan Pablo Montoya. He was reckless and rough. A couple times as he made a pass, he seemed to turn the wheel toward the car he was passing in a bullying fashion. Montoya was driving today like someone desperately fighting to keep his job. The past few races he drove as if he didn’t care.

I’m not sure what to think of race control. Taking no action on the Montoya/Newgarden incident was consistent with their ruling at Indianapolis with Hildebrand/Castroneves. Other rulings today? Did Pagenaud violate the blend line? Was he or was he not given a warning? The television booth at first said he was warned, then said he wasn’t. That was the last we heard about it. Jack Hawksworth complained that his accident was caused by Pagenaud running into the back of him. race Control said they had no video of it. I thought the entire track was covered by video. I’m not sure how something like that could be missed.

I hope to get back to Toronto in the next two years. It is a great event with a wonderful, exciting atmosphere. The fans are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. It has a lot of the electricity you feel at  the Indianapolis 500.

Notes-

Nice stories –

James Hinchcliffe finishing third at his hometown race after missing last year was arguably the best story of the day..  He has struggled here mightily in the past. Great pit strategy put him in third and the last two yellows came at the right time.

Takuma Sato earned a top 5 for his best finish this year. Until Hawksworth’s crash, it appeared two Foyt cars would be in the top 10.

A tenth place for Marco Andretti is his best finish of the year also. He was racy all day.

Rough days-

Josef Newgarden struggled with his broken hand all weekend. He admitted it was a factor in the crash. He will be reevaluated tomorrow.  Fortunately,there are two weeks before Mid-Ohio, another course that could be rough on his injury. Today I think ended any title hopes he had.

Ryan Hunter-Reay continues his lost season. The pit stops and the way the yellows fell gave him his finishing spot. He struggled to get by anyone today. The entire Andretti Autosport team continues to struggle with setup.

The curb in turn 5 broke up during the race causing a yellow. I hope they find a better solution for next year.

 

This week I’m planning to watch a documentary on the Targa Florio, the Sicilian road race,  and attend the USAC Silver Crown race at Lucas Oil Raceway.  Look for posts about these two events later this week.

 

 

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