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Simon Pagenaud fastest driver after second Honda Indy Toronto practice

17 July 2017, 01:23 | Pamela Mathis

Simon Pagenaud fastest driver after second Honda Indy Toronto practice

Simon Pagenaud fastest driver after second Honda Indy Toronto practice

Josef Newgarden was in the right place at the right time.

The final spot in the Firestone Fast Six went to hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe, who equaled his best Toronto qualifying effort of sixth with a lap of 1:00.14145 in the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

And it was another great day in Hinchtown.

Hinchcliffe was third for the second straight year.

But if not for some timely pit strategy and a yellow on Lap 24, this race could have turned out a whole lot differently.

Newgarden won the 2015 race here for Ed Carpenter Racing.

That's how you could rate Scott Dixon at Iowa last week, a race in which he started towards the back and never was a factor.

Newgarden actually got two lucky breaks.

A caution came out on the first lap when defending-champion Will Power was hit on the right side of his vehicle in Turn 3 by overall leader Scott Dixon.

Then on Lap 24, he took his Penske Racing Chevrolet into the pits for its scheduled stop.

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Four-time series champion Dixon holds a narrow eight-point lead over Brazilian rival Helio Castroneves, who was fifth quickest in Toronto.

After a strong start to the second round, Hinchcliffe fell back but was able to recover on a final shootout lap. "I have no doubt that Roger (Penske) and Chip (Ganassi) are definitely looking at him", Daly said.

But who among the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers competing today on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn circuit is the one they most and least likely want to see in that decisive pass situation? It was a huge turnaround overnight by Andretti Autosport to get the vehicle where it needed to be for the race today. Power has two wins on the year and he has been the best driver in the series since his slow start to the season. "The days we get lucky and win a race, just take them". Rahal's slight move to the left caused Scott Dixon to move into Will Power's path, and the contact between Dixon and Power created damage on both cars.

Newgarden jumped into fourth in the driver standings by picking up 53 points with his victory.

Alexander Rossi finished second, ahead of Hinchcliffe.

Rossi seemed more than pleased with his second-place finish in his Honda.

"This finish has been a long time coming", the victor of the 2016 Indy 500 said.

It's been a big turnaround for Hinchcliffe in his hometown race after struggling prior to previous year. It was probably the latest I stayed at a racetrack in a long time. "We had some soul-searching on Friday night".

"We analyzed everything that we could and made some really solid changes overnight".



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