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INDYCAR & MRTI: TORONTO RACE REPORT

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES - SUNDAY, JULY 17

It was a difficult race day for the Andretti quartette in Toronto. Third-generation driver Marco Andretti saw the green flag from the back of the field, however he was able to gain 12 positions over the 85-lap race to see the checkered flag wave from 10th. Ryan Hunter-Reay crossed the finish line 12th despite the former Honda Indy Toronto winner having to pit on two separate occasions for front-wing changes. Running as high as sixth, yellow flags did not play in favor for recent ESPYS Best Driver nominee Alexander Rossi. The Indianapolis 500 champion finished today's race 16th. Colombian pilot, Carlos Muñoz suffered through a wheel issue, forcing him to pit and lose one lap. He worked his way back on to the lead lap and battled for position with teammate Alexander Rossi, leaving Round 12 of competition with a 17th-place finish.

 

Marco Andretti

No. 27 Dr Pepper Honda

 “Glad we could get a top-10 finish for Dr Pepper. Considering where we started, we made up some ground, but we’ve really got to get better as a whole. It’s definitely been a frustrating weekend when it comes to pace. We have to improve mechanical grip to make it easier on the driver. Time to focus forward on Mid-Ohio and see what we can get done there.”

 

Ryan Hunter-Reay

No. 28 DHL Honda

 “It was a struggle of a day, really couldn’t do anything with the car. Thought we had a promising direction for the DHL car in warm-up, but it didn’t translate to the race. We were absolutely struggling out there, it was similar to Long Beach. The last couple road course races we finished third and fourth, but this one was far from that so we’ll need to go back and work on that and get back on the podium at Mid-Ohio."

 

Alexander Rossi

No. 98 Castrol EDGE / Curb Honda

“I think we had the potential to be top five today but the way that second-to-last yellow fell, we lost a lot of track position and it’s impossible to pass around here. It was always going to be a tough race starting from 19th, so we need to qualify better at Mid-Ohio and work hard for a better result.”

 

Carlos Muñoz

No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda

“It was a disappointing race. We had some issues with a wheel and I had to do a whole lap with only three wheels. We lost a whole lap from that, but we showed our pace was pretty decent today. We made a lot of changes overnight and it seems like it worked. We’ll have to see what we have once we get to Mid-Ohio.”

 

 

INDY LIGHTS PRESENTED BY COOPER TIRES RACE 1 - SATURDAY, JULY 16

The Andretti Indy Lights trio saw the green flag from the back of the field, but Stoneman, Kellett and Blackstock quickly moved their way through the pack to see the checkered flag in fifth, eighth and ninth positions, respectively.

 

Dean Stoneman

No. 27 Stellrecht Mazda

• The rookie started today’s race from the 11th position and finished in fifth

• Suffered damage to the right rear wishbone after contact on Lap 9; set his fastest lap on Lap 32

• Will start tomorrow's race from seventh

“We made some drastic changes over the lunch break to see how we could improve the car for the race. We went in a direction that was much better than qualifying and practice sessions, but still not the best it can be. But, in the end of the day we finished the race in the fifth position after starting 11th with a damaged right rear wishbone. Myself and another driver made contact in Turn 3 early in the race, so I think we did well to finish with a bent wishbone. Overall it was a good race and hopefully we can improve the car for tomorrow.”

 

Dalton Kellett

No. 28 K-LINE Insulators USA, Inc. Mazda 

 • Saw the green flag from 14th position

• Took the checkered flag at his hometown race in eighth after impressive passing

• Will take the green flag for Race 2 from 14th

“Considering where we were this morning and in practice, coming home P8 from P14 isn’t a bad climb. We stayed out of the incidents and we made a couple passes so it was a decent comeback for the first race of the weekend. We made a lot of changes between qualifying and the race and I think we have the car going in a direction we are a little happier in. Looking forward to seeing where we’re at tonight and where we are going to be tomorrow. It’s great to see so many fans out here this weekend. I have really enjoyed seeing a lot of my hometown friends and family and I really hope we can bring them home a win or podium tomorrow!”

 

Shelby Blackstock

No. 51 Starstruck Mazda

• The American began the 35-lap race from 13th

• Came in on Lap 24 for a tire change for better grip and the chance to clock a faster qualifying lap for tomorrow’s race

• The veteran will see green from 11th

“Still working on the car. We don’t think the car is where it should be yet. We took a gamble to come in and put on newer tires and it definitely helped - we moved up a couple qualifying positions for tomorrow’s race. We’ll take the points we could get from this one. I’m not sure where we will start but it is definitely better than where we started today. I think we went a second faster than our qualifying time today which is improvement by the team, but we’ve got to keep working on it. So, thanks to the crew for all their hard work and commitment. Tomorrow we’ll give it another shot and hope to finish even better.” 

 

INDY LIGHTS PRESENTED BY COOPER TIRES RACE 2 - SUNDAY, JULY 17

Race 2 was welcomed by sunny skies and a cool breeze at the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto. The drivers were in their cars as they rolled to the grid for the 45-lap race. Unfortunately for Dean Stoneman (starting position 7), a podium finish to tighten the championship point gap was not in the cards. Stoneman suffered a mechanical issue and was unable to start the race. Shelby Blackstock, starting P12, made contact on Lap 2 with the tire barrier in Turn 1 before continuing on and quickly making up pace. Blackstock completed the race ninth. Toronto-native Dalton Kellett drove his way from the back of the field up to eighth, gaining an impressive six positions before making contact with the tire barriers in Turn 8 with only five laps to go. Kellett saw the checkered flag from 11th.

The team heads back to the states to continue competition for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship in the buckeye state when the trio takes the track at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to complete Rounds 14 and 15. Action on the 13-turn course beings Friday July 29 with Race 1 on Saturday and Race 2 on Sunday. 

 

Shelby Blackstock

No. 51 Starstruck Mazda

“Pretty tough weekend overall. The car just didn’t have the grip we needed over the bumps. It was a huge fight between the car and the track all weekend long. We made moves in the right direction, it just seemed very consistent with our year – how we ended (in regards to our car set up) is how we wish we would’ve started the weekend. Ready to move on to Mid-Ohio, I’ll definitely take the points from these races. It’s been a tough event for the team - both Indy Lights and our INDYCAR team.”

 

Dalton Kellett

No. 28 K-LINE Insulators USA, Inc. Mazda 

“Great start to Race 2 here in Toronto. I managed to make up a few spots on the opening laps and move up to eighth. I was running consistently trying to keep the gap with the car behind and made a mistake into Turn 8. I out-broke myself a little and nosed it in to the tire barrier and luckily I was able to back out. The K-LINE crew did a great job getting the car back together and putting a new front wing on and getting me back on track. We were able to bring it home in P11 which is still a gain from starting in P14, but I would’ve like to have run a clean race here for the hometown crowd. Now we can move on to Mid-Ohio and continue to develop our set up for the next few races. Huge thank you to the hometown crowd who came out to support myself and the team this weekend.”

  

Dean Stoneman

No. 27 Stellrecht Mazda

"Just one of those things that unfortunately we cannot control. I thought we had a real chance today so it is a huge frustration and opportunity lost. Thanks to the team for doing all they could to rectify the problem. We just need to stay positive, put this issue behind us and shift our focus to Mid-Ohio."