2017 marked the twenty-second season for the IndyCar championship. Since March 2014, the telecommunications company, Verizon has been the primary sponsor.

Two of the biggest team announcements in the off season was that after 27-years Target would be discontinuing their sponsorship of Chip Ganassi Racing and that A.J. Foyt Enterprises would switch from Honda to Chevrolet power plants.

As for significant driver changes: Josef Newgarden joined Team Penske, Takuma Sato left A.J. Foyt Enterprises for Andretti Autosport and Dale Coyne Racing welcomed back Sebastien Bourdais. Also of note - Fernando Alonso would skip the Monaco Grand Prix to compete in the Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport.

The series continued to use the fourth generation Dallara IR-12 which was introduced in 2012 to replace the Dallara IR5. 2017 is the last year for the Chevrolet and Honda aero kits which was introduced in 2015. A new spec aero kit will be adopted for 2018. Chevrolet (Chevy IndyCar V6) and Honda (Honda HI17R Indy-V6) were still providing 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engines for the series. These motors would rev to a maximum of 12,000 rpm producing 550-700-horspower depending on the amount of turbo boost. These manufacturers were also providing aero kits.

As in recent years, the season opened in March at Saint Petersburg and ended mid-September at Sonoma, California. There was a total sixteen race weekends and only one doubleheader event (Detroit). As usual, there was a mix of ovals, road courses and temporary street circuits. The only change to the schedule was the addition of Gateway Motorsports Park in August.

Round twelve of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series was held on the eleven turn 1.786-mile temporary street circuit at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. The event, titled, the Honda Indy Toronto would be the thirty-third visit for Indy cars in Toronto.

Twenty-one cars enter turn nine on the pace lap for round twelve of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series. On the pole is Team Penske driver and defending IndyCar champion, Simon Pagenaud. Sharing the front row with Pagenaud is Graham Rahal racing the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara. Behind the first row are the Penske entries of Helio Castroneves and Will Power.
Team Penske driver, Josef Newgarden had a victory in the season’s third event at Barber Motorsports Park and was fifth in the standings entering Toronto. Newgarden did not make it beyond the second round of qualifying and was gridded seventh. In the race, he pitted just before a full course caution which allowed him to inherit the lead. From that point on he took control of the contest and scored his second victory of 2017.
The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner, Alexander Rossi was eighth quickest driving a Honda powered Dallara for Andretti Herta Autosport. By lap-38 of the race, Rossi was in second place. He lost the position after he pitted for the second time but regained the spot after all the teams had cycled through their stops. Rossi held on to finish second - just 1.8704-seconds behind the winner, Newgarden. This was his best result since his Indy 500 victory.
Home town favourite, James Hinchcliffe was on pace all weekend. The local driver secured a spot in the ‘Firestone Fast Six’ and was sixth quickest in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. This performance equalled his best starting position in Toronto. In the race, Hinchcliffe grabbed the last spot on the podium which duplicated his 2016 result.
At Toronto, the reigning Verizon IndyCar series champion, Simon Pagenaud earned his first pole-position of the 2017 season. This was Pagenaud’s tenth IndyCar career pole and in the process, he set a new qualifying record. At the start of the race, Pagenaud was passed by his teammate and third fastest qualifier, Helio Castroneves. His first pit-stop dropped him to fifteenth but a late race move on Ryan Hunter-Reay gave him a fifth place finish.
Andretti Autosport driver, Marco Andretti qualified the United Fiber & Data sponsored Dallara eleventh in the field of twenty-one entries. A steady drive and excellent pit-stops during the contest were rewarded with a fourth place finish. This was Andretti’s best result since June 2015 when he was third at Auto Club Speedway.
Sharing the front row with the pole-sitter, Simon Pagenaud was Graham Rahal, the winner of rounds six and seven at Belle Isle. Rahal driving the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry was just 0.3121-seconds slower than the fastest qualifying lap. A pass by Helio Castroneves dropped him to third before the first corner. Rahal continued to slide down the race order and was ninth at the checkered flag.
Qualifying third in the ‘Firestone Fast Six’ was Team Penske driver, Helio Castroneves. Castroneves was coming off a victory in the previous round at Iowa Speedway. In the race, he made a brilliant start and led the first twenty-four laps. After his first pit-stop, Castroneves dropped to fourteen but moved up to finish eighth. More importantly, he moved to within just three points of the championship leader, Scott Dixon.
It was a difficult weekend for the defending race winner, Will Power. Power had victories in the Verizon sponsored Team Penske entry at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Texas Motor Speedway. Practice went well and he made it to the final qualifying session, turning a lap good enough for fourth on the starting grid. Unfortunately, Power’s race did not go well. He was the first retirement after an incident on lap-1 with Scott Dixon.
The No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara was driven by Tony Kanaan. Kanaan suffered through a series of brake issues during the weekend and qualified fourteenth quickest. On lap-23, he hit the tire barriers in corner one and brought out the race’s second full course caution. In an attempt to lose a minimal amount of laps, Kanaan stayed on the circuit without car’s nose until he could catch the rear of the field – he finished nineteenth.
Another driver having a tough weekend was the series point’s leader, Scott Dixon. A win at Road America and ten top-10 finishes contributed to the Chip Ganassi Racing driver’s place in the standings. Dixon was in the top-five during first two practice sessions and made it to the ‘Firestone Fast Six’ setting the fifth quickest time. He pitted on the first lap for a new tire after colliding with Will Power but worked his way through the field to finish tenth.
The round twelve Verizon IndyCar Series podium at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. On the left is the driver of the Andretti Herta Autosport, Alexander Rossi who captured the runner-up position. Third place finisher and hometown hero, James Hinchcliffe stands on the right side of the rostrum. Between these two is the winner, Josef Newgarden. The victory, Newgarden’s second of the season moved him into fourth place in the title chase.

17Josef NewgardenDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske85-
28Alexander RossiDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport/Curb Agajanian85-
36James HinchcliffeDallara IR-12 / HondaSchmidt Peterson Motorsports85-
411Marco AndrettiDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport85-
51Simon PagenaudDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske85-
616Ryan Hunter-ReayDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport85-
79Max ChiltonDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing85-
83Helio CastronevesDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske85-
92Graham RahalDallara IR-12 / HondaRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing85-
105Scott DixonDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing85-
1120Sebastian SaavedraDallara IR-12 / HondaSchmidt Peterson Motorsports85-
1217Charlie KimballDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing85-
1312J.R. HildebrandDallara IR-12 / ChevroletEd Carpenter Racing85-
1421Esteban GutierrezDallara IR-12 / HondaDale Coyne Racing85-
1519Carlos MunozDallara IR-12 / ChevroletA.J. Foyt Enterprises85-
1610Takuma SatoDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport85-
1718Conor DalyDallara IR-12 / ChevroletA.J. Foyt Enterprises85-
1813Spencer PigotDallara IR-12 / ChevroletEd Carpenter Racing84-
1914Tony KanaanDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing83-
2015Ed JonesDallara IR-12 / HondaDale Coyne Racing75Mechanical
214Will PowerDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske0Accident

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