Toronto, ON – In the constant spitting rain of Toronto, the 2015 Honda Indy Toronto went off without much trouble. Only two yellow flags were waved during the 85 lap street course around Exhibition Place, but in the end, a 1-2 finish from an unpredictable duo of Josef Newgarden and Luca Filippi of Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing stole the show.
It was not only Newgarden's second victory of the year and career, but the first 1-2 finish from the small team that merged together in the off season.
Newgarden started the race in 11th place, while Filippi had a brilliant qualifying session to fight his way to a sixth place start. Both drivers were on different strategies, but found a way to come together and battle for the race win. Newgarden edged out his teammate by 1.4 seconds, distancing themselves from Team Penske and driver Helio Castroneves, who ended up in third.
It was a bit of luck that got Newgarden to the front of the pack pitting just ahead of a full-course yellow for an individual incident involving Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' James Jakes on Lap 29. That pit stop catapulted Newgarden to the front of the previous lead-pack that included Filippi.
“I'm not going to deny that that yellow for sure helped us win this race,” said Newgarden. “Once we got to the position to be able to win the race, you can see that we had the cars to do it...we got there with a little luck, and we still did the work we had to do to win the race, and I'm really proud of the whole team.”
For Filippi, it was a long road to his first podium in IndyCar. After the race, the Italian-native talked about his struggles to find a ride that found himself only a few years ago broadcasting IndyCar and Formula One on Sky Sports in Europe. He's only racing on street and road tracks this season, as owner and teammate Ed Carpenter fills the gaps during the oval tracks, but he clearly has made the most of his opportunities with this result in Toronto.
Third-place finisher Castroneves led the race for a total of 15 laps, but fell victim to a yellow flag for debris during his scheduled pit stop, reshuffling him back to 15th position. He would fight his way back to third, but had nothing left for the two CFH drivers.
Chevrolet dominated the Honda Indy Toronto fielding the top eight drivers that included Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Dixon. The top Honda driver was Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Graham Rahal in ninth, maintaining the top Honda spot, which is fifth overall in the driver standings.
With a fourth place finish by Power, he shrunk the gap between him and points leader Montoya to just 27. The other two drivers in striking distance are Dixon (47 points back) and Castroneves (52 points back). Newgarden jumps up to eighth in the driver standings, 108 points behind Montoya.
The 2015 Honda Indy Toronto race wasn't without its Canadian content. Oakville-native James Hinchcliffe, currently out for the season with an injury made a special appearance in Toronto as the Grand Marshal for the 29th running of the event. For the many cheering fans that packed the grandstands on Sunday, it was a big moment to see their local favourite, who helped fill-in driver Conor Daly throughout the weekend.
The IndyCar season will now move to Fontana, California for the MAVTV 500 on June 27th.