Newgarden Captures Second 2015 Victory at Honda Indy Toronto
TORONTO (June 14, 2015) – American Josef Newgarden led Luca Filippi across the start-finish line by 1.4485 seconds to give CFH Racing a 1-2 finish in the Honda Indy Toronto.
It was the second victory this season and the second of Newgarden’s four-year Verizon IndyCar Series career.
“I’m so happy we were able to get a win, but a 1-2 is just amazing because Luca is such a star,” said Newgarden, who also won at Barber Motorsports Park in April in the No. 67 Hartman Oil Chevrolet. “Just an amazing team effort. I’m definitely excited because this is Toronto and this is an INDYCAR town.”
Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Will Power, the pole sitter, finished third and fourth, respectively, and 2014 Toronto race winner Sebastien Bourdais placed fifth in the No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet.
Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya finished seventh for his best result in five starts in Toronto and holds a 27-point championship lead over Power through 10 of 16 races. Three consecutive oval races, starting with the MAVTV 500 on June 27 at Auto Club Speedway, are ahead on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.
There were seven lead changes among six drivers in the race that began on wet tires following rain earlier in the day. It was slowed by two short cautions and it was the second race in a row for a team 1-2 finish. Scott Dixon won the Firestone 600 on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams’ Tony Kanaan the runner-up.
Newgarden pitted for tires and Sunoco E85 fuel on Lap 28 just before the first yellow flag flew for contact by the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda of James Jakes into the tire barrier in Turn 5. Newgarden remained in the top five through his final stop on Lap 58, and reclaimed the lead on Lap 72 when Rodolfo Gonzalez pitted in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda.
“It was close racing, for sure, and I got a little lucky on that yellow,” said Newgarden, who joined Ryan Hunter-Reay, A.J. Allmendinger, Al Unser Jr., Bobby Rahal and seven-time winner Michael Andretti as American winners in Toronto. “It was a great call, though, and it was an amazing effort by this team and the crew who gave me amazing pit stops.”
Filippi, driving the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, recorded his best finish in 16 Verizon IndyCar Series races dating to 2013.
“We had a goal to be on the podium and we both achieved it with both cars. It’s nice when you set the goal and you achieve it and the team did everything perfectly to give us the opportunity to be up front,” said Filippi, who qualified sixth. “But we had a fast car and we knew we needed to be kind of in the clean air up in front and this is what we did — just kept pushing.
“I thank the Fuzzy’s Vodka team because they believe in me and they gave me the opportunity to race INDYCAR properly and my first podium. Many more to come.”
INDYCAR Drivers Show Well in 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car endurance race completed this morning in France featured a number of INDYCAR-related drivers with notable finishes.
Mike Conway, who won the second half of the 2014 Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader for the Verizon IndyCar Series, finished sixth overall provisionally and in the LMP1 class as part of the Toyota Racing team, one spot behind the No. 18 Porsche LMP1 team that included former Indy car driver Neel Jani.
Actor Patrick Dempsey, a former Verizon IndyCar Series team co-owner and honorary starter for this year’s Indianapolis 500, was co-driver of the Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 that finished second in the LMGTE Am category. That was one position ahead of the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 co-driven by Townsend Bell, the 14th-place finisher at this year’s Indy 500 and an NBCSN analyst on Verizon IndyCar Series broadcasts when he’s not racing.
Other current/former Indy car drivers who competed at Le Mans included Mikhail Aleshin, Ryan Dalziel, Tristan Gommendy, Niclas Jonsson, Nicolas Minassian, Tiago Monteiro, Ho-Pin Tung and Scott Sharp. Ryan Briscoe and Jan Magnussen were scheduled to compete, but their LMGTE Pro car was withdrawn following a crash in qualifying.
Former Indy Lights driver Gustavo Yacaman was part of the G-Drive Racing team that finished fourth in LMP2. Current Indy Lights driver Max Chilton also competed with the Nissan Motorsports LMP1 team.
Mazda Road to Indy Race 2 Winners
The three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series completed Toronto doubleheader weekends with the second race in each category. Season points leader Nico Jamin won the rain-shortened Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda race, his fifth victory in 11 races this season. In the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, Garrett Grist waited for the perfect time to collect his first win of the season, taking the checkered flag in his home country. Spencer Pigot (Juncos Racing) completed a weekend sweep of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races in treacherous wet conditions. Saturday’s first race was highlighted by a spectacular crash that saw RC Enerson (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) walk away uninjured after his car went airborne and flipped over the tire barrier in the Turn 3 runoff.
HONDA INDY TORONTO POST-RACE QUOTES:
WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “(The race) went quickly. I was surprised. They said it was the end and I was like, ‘Really, that’s it?’ But, yeah, I was happy. We went with a low risk – we didn’t want to get caught out by the yellow. I felt like, if we’d had five more laps, our car was pretty strong because we had black (tires) and Helio had reds on. We gained some points back with a solid top-four (finish). It was a championship type day for the Verizon Chevy team.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “After all the circumstances today – what a great job from the Hitachi boys. Roger (Penske) made a great call. I had no idea how they put me up there, but we were running really strong laps. The car was on rails. It’s a shame, certainly, it was crazy. I was pushing like I stole it. But in the end it was great. It was a shame with the weather a little bit, but thank God we were able to put some dry laps out there for the fans. The Canadian fans are always awesome. This is a great event and I hope when we come here next year, we get a win.”
STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “I struggled on the wet tires at the beginning. But then when we switched to the slick tires after 10 laps, the car was really good and really fast and I was able to make up positions and run as fast as the leaders. My crew did a great second pit stop and I rejoined 16th. At the restart, I gained another position and got as high as 14th when I broke a tiny bit too late in Turn 5 and hit the wall. That broke my suspension and, unfortunately, that was then it for me.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 8 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was a long day out there for the No. 8 AFS team after a very positive start to the weekend. I felt pretty strong with the car and after the conditions yesterday, but we didn’t quite get our setup right for the dry. It’s unfortunate because you want to get the most out of the car and yourself, and today it didn’t happen for us.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Jurassic World Chevrolet): “Not the day we wanted to have, obviously, in the Jurassic World car. The start of the race was really strung out and there seemed to be big gaps everywhere. We managed the transition well between the rain and dry-weather tires early on, but then got shuffled back. We were in good shape in the top five for the first part of the race, but then after the last stop we slid back in the top 10. The car wasn’t bad, we just ended up back there with the flow of the race, unfortunately.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We struggled a little at the beginning of the race just trying to make the passes we needed and we lost a few spots on the restart early on. We regrouped and decided on an aggressive fuel strategy that kept me out longer than everyone else on the last stint and allowed me to get out of all of the traffic that had been holding me up throughout most of the race. Once we were able to get out of the traffic and in clear air, I think we were running almost a second faster than everyone else, so we definitely had the car to be up front. I have to thank the NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing crew guys for keeping me in this race. Our last stop of the race was so quick that I was actually able to make up seven spots. Sixth isn’t where I wanted to be, but with where we were running earlier on, it was definitely an improvement.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Chevrolet): “For sure, we could have stretched it but (Carlos) Munoz just made it very difficult for us. We destroyed the tires behind him, both Power and I, and we finished, you know, behind each other. … Obviously the guys who were in clean air who stayed out there who ran some quick laps on their own and it was the right thing to do, except obviously, if there had been a yellow like on the first sequence, then you cycle to black (primary tires) and the race is over. It was a defense strategy. It was the right thing to do. We probably should have done it on the first one as well, not to expose ourselves but, hey, that’s the problem with yellows and closed pits. Sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re wrong.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rousseau Metal Honda): “I was pleased with the car’s performance, but it’s just not quick enough everywhere. We’ve just got to work on it. I think we found some things this weekend that will help us going forward, but it’s just frustrating to put all the effort in that we are and to finish ninth. I feel like we deserve better than this but we’re going to keep trying hard. I was either stuck in traffic, trying to get by (Takuma) Sato and getting blocked or cruising behind (Scott) Dixon. It was frustrating. We would have liked to get the Rousseau car further up there, but that was the best we had today.”
RODOLFO GONZALEZ (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “The aim was to try to finish the race and running those laps up front was a big bonus. I think we took a big risk on our strategy and, in the end, it didn’t pay off because we got that second caution so quickly and it screwed us up a little bit. It was certainly fun. We were down a little bit on pace, but I was able to keep those guys behind me and, in the end, I had fun. It was a good race for me. I am a rookie, in the end. It is only my third race and to be spending any time leading is great. It is funny, I didn’t even know I was leading there at the end with (Josef) Newgarden. I was told I was leading all those laps after I got out of the car. I was just driving my race and knew I had a black car behind me. I thought maybe it was Gabby Chaves because we had been racing together earlier in the race. At one point, I was asking myself, ‘Why do I keep getting Penske cars behind me?’ In the end, it was a good, fun race. I am happy.”
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “It was a strange race. It felt like we were recovering all the time. I had a good start but was caught on the outside of a driver that got on the brakes too late going into Turn 3. He took me into the escape road and put me all the way in the back. I had nowhere to go but straight. The pace was OK after that. All of the Hondas were running very similar pace, so track position was important. I had made up quite a few positions but made a mistake with the car’s settings and lost all of the positions we had gained. We pitted early and had to save a bit of fuel to make it to the end. I think we had the pace to finish three spots higher if I had more fuel. I just couldn’t really push hard in the last stint. That is just the way it goes sometimes. Everybody gave their best this weekend.”
LUCA FILIPPI (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “We had a goal to be on the podium and we both achieved it with both cars. It’s nice when you set the goal and you achieve it and the team did everything perfectly to give us the opportunity to be up front. But we had a fast car and we knew we needed to be kind of in the clean air up in front and this is what we did — just kept pushing. We were faster and we ended up in front. I’m very happy. Very happy. The team did a great job. I thank the Fuzzy’s Vodka team because they believe in me and they gave me the opportunity to race INDYCAR properly and my first podium. Many more to come.”
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): “Again, mechanical issues that ended our race. We were having a great race; I was fourth before everything and I think we had the speed to finish in that position or to fight for the podium. Once again, something out of the team and my hands – it’s racing. We really need to check to see why this is happening, but we put our heads down and head to Fontana.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Dr Pepper Honda): “We kind of had an intermediate setup on. I think of we had a dry setup on and went to (Firestone primary tire) blacks at the end, it would have been the way to go. The (Firestone alternate tire) reds were gone halfway through the stint, I started to fall off (Simon) Pagenaud and there was nothing I could do to hang on to the rear of the Dr Pepper car. We’re heading back to an oval with Fontana, so we’ll see what we can do there.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Right rear brake issues the whole race, slowly but surely just kept losing rear brake pressure until it finally went completely. I had no rear brake pressure at all and had to pull it in with one lap from the end. Wish we could have brought home a better result in the No. 28 DHL.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, Honda Indy Toronto winner): “I’m so happy we were able to get a win, but a 1-2 is just amazing because Luca (Filippi) is such a star. I’m super happy for the whole group. Just an amazing team effort – I can’t believe we had a 1-2. It got a little close there with Luca, but we were really just trying to keep up after we got into the final stint. I got a little bit of lapped traffic, but I couldn’t do anything with the lapped traffic, but they wanted me to because of everyone that was coming. It’s close racing and, for sure, I got a little lucky, too, on that yellow. But you can’t discount that because it was an amazing effort by this crew at CFH Racing. They gave me amazing pit stops and a car to win. I’m definitely excited because this is Toronto and this is an INDYCAR town.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet): “It’s a little frustrating that the incident with the No. 4 car (Stefano Coletti) cut my tire and sent me to the back of the field. Overall the pace of the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet was really quick. I think we for sure had at least one of the top-five fastest laps of the race. I have to give a lot of credit to the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew guys – they did a great job. It was challenging conditions and a lot going on for them in the middle of the race with so many stops right there in a row. We’ll just put this one behind us and get back at it for the MAVTV 500 in Fontana in a few weeks.”
GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins / Curb Honda): “We had another race where we still managed to finish the race, learn some more. We definitely struggled with pace, so that is something we need to figure out. Why we are week in and week out not being able to close that gap that we need to close. Aside from that, I think the team is still highly motivated, I am still highly motivated. I think we can close out this last third of the championship improving even more and on a high.”