Franchitti wins Honda Indy pole; Hinch to start 19th
Dario Franchitti won the pole for Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto moments ago, pipping Will Power and Justin Wilson.
Alex Tagliani was the only Canadian to make it into the Fast Six, James Hinchcliffe just missing make it out of the second qualifying session.
He set ninth fastest qualifying time and will start 19th as a result of a 10 grid-position penalty assessed Friday after his team had to change his engine before the pre-determined number of laps had been turned.
So Sunday's race will look this way: Franchitti on pole with Power beside him on the front row. Wilson will start inside Row Two with Sebastien Bourdais beside him. Scott Dixon will go off fifth (inside Row Three) with Ryan Hunter-Reay beside him.
Canadian Alex Tagliani was sixth fastest but, like Hincchcliffe, was assessed a 10-grid-position penalty because of an engine change and so will go off 16th.
Tag thinks that might give him an advantage, as it allows for the potential for different strategies. When you're at the front, the race pretty much dictates how you will handle tires and fuel. But when you're in the back, you can maybe do things differently and get the win that way.
Over the years, politicians have been largely absent from the Honda Indy.
David Peterson was just about the last Liberal to show up and that was in the 1980s. Bob Rae didn't attend when he was premier, nor has Dalton McGuinty. Mike Harris came, of course, as did Mel Lastman. But David Miller? It is to laugh.
The news today is that Rob Ford is coming to the Honda Indy on Sunday morning. He will be taken for a pace car ride a little after 9 in the morning (brother Doug will be here as well) and then will meet James Hinchcliffe at Andretti Autosport and Alex Tagliani at Bryan Herta Racing. He's also going to meet Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi at some point.
Whether he'll stay for the race is not known.
Where is Target?
A year ago, after it was announced that the U.S. department store would be coming to Canada in late 2012 and 2013, they used the Honda Indy to market their company and their involvement in racing.
They threw a woonderful reception on Sunday morning in advance of the race, brought it their American executive team and introduced their Canadian executives. Target drivers Dario Ffranchitti and Scott Dixon entertained the assembled media and even Chip Ganassi showed up.
Out on the grounds, there were signs with the Target logo everywhere and young men and women dressed in Target-branded clothing handing out flyers and small merchandise.
This year, nothing.
Yes, the Chip Ganassi team is still Target Chip Ganassi but there are no signs around the site, there are no representatives of the store wandering around publicizing it.
It's a complete withdrawal and it seems strange.
Although this is Honda Indy Toronto weekend, there is still other racing going on.
-Kurt Busch won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona Friday night. There was a "big one" two thirds into the race, collecting (and wrecking) 16 or 18 cars.
-In Britain, Fernando Alonso won the pole for Sunday's British Grand Prix. The story, though, was the rain. Jenson Button's miserable season continued wen he couldn't get a handle on the Silverstone track and couldn't make it out of Q1 qualifying. He will start 17th.
And Silverstone bought radio ads urging people not to go to the circuit because the parking and camping areas were quagmires. Traffic jams were more chaotic than usual.
Meantime, Scott Dixon was fastest in third practice leading up to Saturday afternoon qualifying for Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto. Ryan Hunter-Reay was seoond and Simon Pagenaud was third.
James Hinchcliffe finished seventh after returning to the track aftger Friday's disastger in which his team had to change the engine in its car before it had gone the required number of miles. Ergo, it was an "unauthorized" engine change and he will be penalized 10 grid positions after qualifying later today.