Sunday, June 14, 2015

Morning Warm-Up: Toronto 2015

Will Power looks to take championship lead from Juan Pablo Montoya at Toronto
For the fifth time in 2015, Will Power will start on pole position. This is the Australian 41st pole position, tying him with Rick Mears for fifth all-time. Despite winning being a two-time winner at Exhibition Place, Power's average finish at Toronto is 9.6 with four consecutive finishes of 15th or worse before Power finished ninth and third last year. Simon Pagenaud makes it an all-Penske row one, his best start since starting second at St. Petersburg. Pagenaud's best Toronto is fourth. Juan Pablo Monotya makes it an all-Penske top three. The Colombian and championship leader has an average finish of 20.75 in four Toronto starts. Montoya's best Toronto finish is 18th. Scott Dixon will start fourth. He is looking for consecutive victories for the first time since 2013 when he won three straight by winning at Pocono and sweeping the Toronto doubleheader. Only once has Dixon won consecutive races in a season and not won the title; that was 2007. Last year's Toronto 1 winner, Sébastien Bourdais starts fifth. The Frenchman has four consecutive top ten finishes in Toronto. Luca Filippi rounds out the top six. This is the Italians best start since starting since starting sixth in Toronto 1 last year.

Hélio Castroneves starts seventh. The Brazilian finished second in at least one Toronto race the last two years but his average Toronto finish is 13.25 in twelve starts. Takuma Sato will start eighth. The Japanese driver has finished 20th or worse in five of seven Toronto starts but he did finish fifth in race two last year. Tony Kanaan starts ninth. He finished third and second last year at Exhibition Place. Graham Rahal rounds out the top ten. His father Bobby won the most recent IndyCar race to take place on June 14th. Bobby won at Portland on June 14, 1987. It was Bobby's first win of that season as he went on to win the 1987 championship. Josef Newgarden and James Jakes will round out row six. Newgarden has never finished in the top ten at Toronto while Jakes' best Toronto finish is eighth.

Carlos Muñoz starts 13th, which is the worst position a Toronto winner has started from. Muñoz's team owner Michael Andretti won from 13th in 2001. Jack Hawksworth starts 14th. The Brit finished sixth in Toronto 2 last year. Charlie Kimball rounds out the top fifteen. Kimball's first career podium came at Toronto in 2012. He finished second. The man Kimball finished second to in 2012 is the man who will join him on row eight, Ryan Hunter-Reay. The 2012 champion has yet to lead a lap in 2015.

Sebastián Saavedra starts 17th. He was set to advance to round two of qualifying but had his best lap invalidated for causing a yellow flag within the final five minutes of his group. Marco Andretti joins Saavedra on row nine. Andretti has six top tens in eight Toronto starts and his average starting position at Toronto is 15.5. Look for Andretti to make up some ground in the race. Rookies Conor Daly and Stefano Coletti round out the top twenty. Daly finished sixth in his most recent IndyCar start at Belle Isle. Coletti will make his debut at Exhibition Place.

Tristan Vautier will start 21st. He finished 19th and 16th in his only two Toronto starts in 2013. Gabby Chaves will start 22nd. The Colombian finished third and second in his two Indy Lights starts at Toronto. Rodolfo González will round out the grid in 23rd. The Venezuelan had an accident in qualifying that caused a red flag and negated his two fastest laps.

NBCSN's coverage of the Honda Indy Toronto will begin at 3:00 p.m. ET with green flag at 3:37 p.m. ET.