2019 marked the twenty-fourth season of the NTT IndyCar Series. Seventeen rounds would be contested to determine titles for teams and drivers.

There are some newsworthy items for the 2019 season:

  • The most significant story was announced on January 15, 2019, when it was revealed that Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) would be the series new title sponsor. NTT is a Japanese telecommunications company and ranked fifty-fifth in the Fortune Global 500.
  • Teams will continue to use the 2018 spec-engines until 2020 with the series technical staff focusing on the development of new powerplants for 2021.
  • The new year also saw IndyCar sign a contract with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company that would make them the exclusive tire supplier to the 2025 season.
  • Another new agreement resulted in Sunoco being replaced by Speedway as the official fuel provider.
  • On the driver front, some of the major announcements were: Chip Ganassi Racing would replace Ed Jones with Felix Rosenqvist, Indy Lights driver, Colton Herta would join the series full-time with Harding Steinbrenner Racing and Marcus Ericsson would replace the recuperating Robert Wickens at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
  • Changes to the schedule included the addition of Circuit of the Americas and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. While Phoenix International Raceway and Sonoma Raceway were dropped from the 2019 calendar.

Teams continue to use the fourth-generation Dallara IR-12 which is fitted with IR-18 aero kit. Chevrolet (Chevy IndyCar V6) and Honda (Honda HI19R Indy-V6) supply the competitors with engines. The 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 power-plants rev to a maximum of 12,000 rpm and produce 550-700-horsepower depending on the amount of turbo boost.

As in previous years, the season opened in early March at Saint Petersburg, Florida but after that event, there were a couple of changes to the schedule. The second race weekend would be the series’ first visit to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) - replacing the oval at Phoenix. The next fourteen races were venues visited in 2018 but in some cases the order was different. Following COTA the teams travelled to Barber Motorsports Park, Long Beach, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, two events at Belle Isle, Texas Motor Speedway, Road America, Toronto, Iowa Speedway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Pocono Raceway, Gateway Motorsports Park with the penultimate round taking place at Portland International Raceway. Since 2015, the championship had ended at Sonoma Raceway but this year the finale would be held at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Round eleven of the 2019 NTT 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-fifth visit for Indy cars to Toronto.

Prior to the start of the Honda Indy Toronto, Robert Wickens did a lap in an Acura NSX. Wickens made his series debut in 2018 and was immediately competitive. Unfortunately, at Pocono Raceway, he suffered a serious accident. Wickens has been working hard on the road to recovery and has made tremendous progress since his incident. The Acura he drove is equipped with hand controls developed by his team’s sponsor, Arrow.
Twenty-two NTT IndyCar Series competitors enter Toronto’s Exhibition Place’s turn nine in anticipation of the Starter’s flag. Pacing the field is the pole-sitter, Simon Pagenaud in the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Dallara powered by a Chevrolet engine. Sharing the front row with Pagenaud is the defending series champion, Scott Dixon in a Honda-powered Dallara prepared by Chip Ganassi Racing.
On the first lap, there was an incident at corner eight. Graham Rahal who started twelfth was attempting a pass on the seventh-fastest qualifier, Marco Andretti when Will Power dove to the inside of both drivers. Power contacted Rahal who in turn hit Andretti. Andretti spun and continued but Power and Rahal were unable to make the corner. Also involved in the incident were Ryan Hunter-Reay, Matheus Leist and Marcus Ericsson.
It was Simon Pagenaud’s weekend. The driver of the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Dallara advanced through the Firestone Fast Six and earned the pole position. During the race, Pagenaud was out front for eighty of the eighty-five-lap contest – the only time he lost the lead was during pit-stops. Pagenaud was under pressure from Scott Dixon but held on for his third victory of 2019 and closed the points deficit on Josef Newgarden.
Defending race winner and reigning series champion, Scott Dixon started on the outside of the front row. Dixon chased the eventual winner, Simon Pagenaud for eighty-five-laps and despite hitting one of the concrete walls, which affected the Dallara’s suspension, he never lost contact with the leader. Dixon’s last opportunity to make a pass for a win came in the final laps but a full course yellow caused the event to finish under caution.
Alex Rossi entered the Toronto event second in the title chase. Rossi driving for Andretti Autosport had posted wins at Long Beach and Elkhart Lake and was just seven points behind the championship leader, Josef Newgarden. This weekend, he was on a mission to finish in front of Newgarden and that he accomplished. Rossi qualified fourth but moved to third early in the contest. He held the position and narrowed the point’s gap to four markers.
It was a good but not a great weekend for the championship leader, Josef Newgarden. Newgarden made it through to the Firestone Fast Six and qualified fifth. But in the race, he could not maintain the pace of the top-three drivers and finished fourth. Unfortunately for Newgarden, the drivers that finished first through third (Rossi, Pagenaud and Dixon) are right behind him in the title chase – needless to say, his points lead shrank.
Will Power has an impressive racing resume which includes the 2014 IndyCar championship, 2018 Indianapolis 500 win and three victories at the Toronto circuit. This year, Power has three podium finishes but is still searching for his first victory of the season. At Toronto, he struggled and started fifteenth. Power had two major incidents during the race, the last one being an accident which caused him to finish eighteenth.
There were four rookies entered in this year’s Honda Indy Toronto. The rookie delivering the best performance at Exhibition Place was Felix Rosenqvist. Rosenqvist was driving the No. 10 Honda-powered Dallara for Chip Ganassi Racing – this seat was previously occupied by Ed Jones. Rosenqvist was fast in qualifying and was gridded third for the eight-five-lap contest. At the checkered flag, he was in fifth place – his second-best IndyCar result of 2019.
In 2018, Colton Herta was competing in the Indy Lights series and fractured his wrist when he hit one of the concrete walls at Toronto. This year the son of former IndyCar driver, Bryan Herta joined Harding Steinbrenner Racing for a full season in the NTT IndyCar series. The rookie has been very impressive - winning round two at Circuit of the Americas. At Toronto, he qualified sixteenth but at the finish was in seventh place.
The round eleven NTT IndyCar Series podium at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. On the left is the driver from Chip Ganassi Racing and defending race winner, Scott Dixon who captured the runner-up position. Third place finisher Alexander Rossi stands on the right side of the rostrum. Between these two is the winner for the third time this season, Simon Pagenaud. These three drivers closed the points gap on the championship leader, Josef Newgarden.

11Simon PagenaudDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske85-
22Scott DixonDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing85-
34Alexander RossiDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport85-
45Josef NewgardenDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske85-
53Felix RosenqvistDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing85-
614James HinchcliffeDallara IR-12 / HondaSchmidt Peterson Motorsports85-
716Colton HertaDallara IR-12 / HondaHarding Steinbrenner Racing85-
88Sebastien BourdaisDallara IR-12 / HondaDale Coyne Racing85-
912Graham RahalDallara IR-12 / HondaRahal Letterman Lanigan85-
107Marco AndrettiDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport85-
1117Santino FerrucciDallara IR-12 / HondaDale Coyne Racing85-
126Ed JonesDallara IR-12 / ChevroletEd Carpenter Racing84-
1318Zach VeachDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport84-
1413Max ChiltonDallara IR-12 / ChevroletCarlin Racing84-
159Spencer PigotDallara IR-12 / ChevroletEd Carpenter Racing84-
1611Ryan Hunter-ReayDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport84-
1722Tony KanaanDallara IR-12 / ChevroletA.J. Foyt Enterprises84-
1815Will PowerDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske83Accident
1919Matheus LeistDallara IR-12 / ChevroletA.J. Foyt Enterprises83-
2020Marcus EricssonDallara IR-12 / HondaSchmidt Peterson Motorsports81-
2121Max ChiltonDallara IR-12 / ChevroletCarlin Racing79-
2210Takuma SatoDallara IR-12 / HondaRahal Letterman Lanigan67Engine

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