By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
The INDYCAR season continues this weekend with the Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto and the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto Presented by Allied Building Products on the Streets of Toronto, Canada. The Open Wheel will be covering the action all weekend so stay tuned to this site and our Twitter page @openwh33l for all of the latest news.
Photo by Christy Reynolds/The Open Wheel
Indy Lights Preview: Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto Presented by Allied Building Products (Entry List), Race 1 – Saturday, July 14, 2018 12:40PM (ET) & Race 2 – Sunday, July 15, 2018 12:25PM (ET) – Eventual Indy Lights Champion Kyle Kaiser swept both Race 1 and Race 2 at Toronto last year for Juncos Racing (making it a shame for him that Rene Binder is in the team’s Verizon IndyCar Series entry this weekend). Juncos Racing’s current Lights driver Victor Franzoni has won at Toronto in Pro Mazda and finished P4 in both races on the Streets of St. Pete early this year so he should be fast this weekend. Santi Urrutia and Aaron Telitz each showed serious speed at Toronto last year with front row starts and Top 5 finishes between them. However, this weekend is all about the championship battle between Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta. O’Ward has been a qualifying ace all year and if that happens at Toronto it’s going to be tough to get around him. However, he’s shown both the ability to dominate a race start to finish as well as the potential for a mistake or two to open up a chance for others. Herta will be close by and ready to pounce should he get any opportunity this weekend. My picks to win: Patricio O’Ward & Colton Herta
Verizon IndyCar Series Preview: Honda Indy Toronto, Sunday, July 15, 2018 3:00PM (ET) NBCSN – Previous driver experience shows five former winners on the Streets of Toronto in the field in Will Power (3), Sebastien Bourdais (2), Scott Dixon (2), Josef Newgarden (2), and Ryan Hunter-Reay (1). The active Top 5 in laps led at Toronto are Bourdais (189), Power (161), Dixon (151), Newgarden (95), and Hunter-Reay (36). The last two winners at Toronto are Team Penske’s Newgarden and Power. Looking at the box scores 2017 and 2016, Canadian James Hinchcliffe is the only driver to finish in the Top 5 in each of the last two years. If that’s expanded to the Top 10, he’s joined by Andretti, Pagenaud, Chilton, and Dixon. Conor Daly will drive this weekend for Harding Racing and has led at Toronto before and finished each race he’s started at the circuit. Canadians Hinchcliffe, Robert Wickens, and Zachary Claman De Melo will be highly motivated to deliver a big result for their fans in the only Verizon IndyCar Series race in their country. My pick to win: Robert Wickens – He has to win sometime right? And what better place for Wickens than in his home country of Canada? Hinchcliffe’s recent history at Toronto shows SPM has the place figured out and Wickens has shown tremendous speed on street courses this year. I think this is the weekend it all works out for the Canadian rookie and what a scene that will be!
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Robert Wickens, James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Charlie Kimball – You know my thoughts on Wickens. Hinch is coming off a win last week and has back-to-back Firestone Fast 6 starts and Top 5’s in Toronto. Power will be fast as always at a track Team Penske does very well at and might be good value at $30 this week. If you want a roster this strong, you have to reach somewhere but Charlie Kimball has quietly put some very good drives together for his underdog Carlin team. He’s vastly outperformed teammate Max Chilton so far this season. Kimball has done well to move through the field after poor qualifying efforts in the last couple years at Toronto and has 4 Top 10 finishes in 9 attempts.