2018 marked the twenty-third season of the Verizon IndyCar Series. Seventeen rounds would be contested to determine titles for teams and drivers.

The season opened in early March at Saint Petersburg, Florida and ended at Sonoma Raceway in September. In between these two weekends, there were races held at ISM Raceway, Long Beach, Barber Motorsports Park, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and two events at Belle Isle. Texas Motor Speedway kicks off the second half of the season and it is followed by races held at, Road America, Iowa Speedway, Toronto, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Pocono Raceway, Gateway Motorsports Park with the penultimate round taking place at Portland International Raceway.

There are some newsworthy stories for the 2018 season:

    2018 would be the last year that Verizon is the title sponsor for the IndyCar series.
  • Teams will continue to use the Dallara DW-12 chassis but the cars will be fitted with new bodywork. This universal aero kit has less drag, less downforce and faster straight-line speed.
  • Chevrolet (Chevy IndyCar V6) and Honda (Honda HI17R Indy-V6) continue to supply the 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engines for the series. These motors rev to a maximum of 12,000-rpm producing 550-700-horsepower depending on the amount of turbo boost.
  • Brian Barnhart who had been the Race Director has been replaced by Kyle Novak.
  • Ten rookies are expected to compete during the season with Zach Veach, Matheus Leist and Robert Wickens participating in all seventeen events.
  • Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske have scaled back their operations – entering fewer cars.
  • The significant changes to the schedule include the addition of Portland International Raceway and the removal of Watkins Glen International from the 2018 calendar.

Round twelve of the 2018 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-fourth visit for Indy cars to Toronto.

Josef Newgarden, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and defending Toronto race winner was the last driver to take the track in the ‘Firestone Fast Six’ and won the pole. The qualifying sessions were difficult as intermittent light rain resulted in a damp track one minute and dry the next. In his final lap, Newgarden recorded a time of 59.4956-seconds. This was his fourth pole of the season and sixth of his seven-year IndyCar career.
Twenty-three Verizon IndyCar Series competitors enter Toronto’s Exhibition Place’s corner nine in anticipation of the Starter’s flag. Leading the field is the pole-sitter, Josef Newgarden driving the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara powered by a Chevrolet engine. Sharing the front row with Newgarden is Chip Ganassi Racing’s, Scott Dixon in a Honda-powered Dallara with backing from PNC Bank and NTT Data.
The pole-sitter, Josef Newgarden dominated the race until lap-34 when he hit the wall in turn eleven. The rough circuit and high temperatures contributed to a dusty track with an excessive amount of tire marbles. Newgarden was not the only driver to experience problems – frontrunners such as Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay were also caught out by the challenging conditions. Newgarden regrouped and finished ninth.
Entering round twelve of the Verizon IndyCar Series the point’s leader was the four-time champion, Scott Dixon. Dixon had victories in race one at Belle Isle and Fort Worth. He set a new lap record in the second qualifying session but fell to second in the ‘Firestone Fast Six.’ In the race, Dixon trailed the pole-sitter, Josef Newgarden until Newgarden tagged a wall on lap-34. Dixon assumed control of the event and took the victory.
The third Team Penske entry was driven by 2016 IndyCar champion, Simon Pagenaud. Pagenaud made to the ‘Firestone Fast Six’ where he was the third quickest qualifier. He was still looking for his first victory of 2018 – his best result to date was a runner-up finish at Fort Worth. Pagenaud avoided a lot of the incidents during the race and battled with Robert Wickens to score another second-place finish.
One of the hometown favourites was Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’, Robert Wickens. The rookie sensation almost won the season opener at St. Petersburg. His best finish to date was second place at Phoenix. Incidents during the race allowed, Wickens to move to the front. On the lap-34 restart, he jumped from fifth to second but would lose a position to Simon Pagenaud before the end of the event.
Aside from Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball could be described as the most successful driver at this year’s Honda Indy Toronto. Kimball was having a less than stellar season – his best finish was an eighth in race two at Belle Isle. In Toronto, Kimball qualified twentieth in the twenty-three car field. While his fellow competitors encountered problems, Kimball ran a steady race to finish fifth.
James Hinchcliffe was another local favourite who also drove for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Hinchcliffe failed to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500 but won the most recent event at Iowa Speedway. In qualifying, he did not make it beyond the second round of qualifying and started ninth. Hinchcliffe moved up the race order during the contest and when Marco Andretti had to pit for fuel, he inherited fourth.
The round twelve Verizon IndyCar Series podium at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. On the left is the driver from Team Penske, Simon Pagenaud who captured the runner-up position. Third place finisher and hometown hero, Robert Wickens stands on the right side of the rostrum. Between these two is the winner, Scott Dixon. The victory, Dixon’s third of the season extended his point’s lead in the title chase.

12Scott DixonDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing85-
23Simon PagenaudDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske85-
310Robert WickensDallara IR-12 / HondaSchmidt Peterson Motorsports85-
49James HinchcliffeDallara IR-12 / HondaSchmidt Peterson Motorsports85-
520Charlie KimballDallara IR-12 / ChevroletCarlin Racing85-
615Tony KanaanDallara IR-12 / ChevroletA.J. Foyt Enterprises85-
722Zach VeachDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport85-
85Alexander RossiDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport85-
91Josef NewgardenDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske85-
1014Marco AndrettiDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport85-
118Jordan KingDallara IR-12 / ChevroletEd Carpenter Racing85-
1221Ed JonesDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing85-
1311Conor DalyDallara IR-12 / ChevroletHarding Racing85-
1423Zachary Claman DeMeloDallara IR-12 / HondaDale Coyne Racing85-
1512Matheus LeistDallara IR-12 / ChevroletA.J. Foyt Enterprises85-
166Ryan Hunter-ReayDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport84-
1719Rene BinderDallara IR-12 / ChevroletJuncos Racing83-
184Will PowerDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske83-
1917Sebastien BourdaisDallara IR-12 / HondaDale Coyne Racing83-
2016Spencer PigotDallara IR-12 / ChevroletEd Carpenter Racing76Accident
2124Graham RahalDallara IR-12 / HondaRahal Letterman Lanigan68-
225Takuma SatoDallara IR-12 / HondaRahal Letterman Lanigan66Accident
2320Max ChiltonDallara IR-12 / ChevroletCarlin Racing34Accident

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