Josef Newgarden drove to his second victory of the season and the second of his IndyCar career in the rainy and wet Honda Indy at Exhibition Place in Toronto, beating teammate Luca Filippi by 1.4485 seconds in a 1-2 finish for Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing. Newgarden, who is currently in his fourth IndyCar season, secured his first win for Chevrolet and CFH Racing earlier this year at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in April.
IndyCar Series leader Will Power led the first 30 laps in Toronto, receiving pressure from fellow Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud throughout. Power was one of six drivers to lead the race in seven different lead changes, but eventually forfeited the position to pit and switch his rain tires for the faster slicks.
Strategy was key throughout the damp 85-lap race, and clearly, CFH nailed the fuel and tire pit stop plan. Drivers started on wets due to the wet track surface and the uncertainty of more rain, but quickly switched their tires once the first yellow flag was put out on Lap 29 after James Jakes locked his tires up and crashed into a barrier. Newgarden and Filippi were able to sneak up front due to the teams’ differing strategies and thanks to some expert driving, held their lead until the checkered flag was put out.
“I’m super happy for the whole group. It’s just an amazing team effort – I can’t believe we had a 1-2,” Newgarden said post-race. “It got a little close there with Luca but we were really just trying to keep up after we got into the final stint. I got a little bit of lapped traffic, but I couldn’t do anything with the lapped traffic, but they wanted me to because of everyone that was coming. It’s close racing and for sure I got a little lucky too on that yellow.”
“But you can’t discount that because it was an amazing effort by this crew at CFH Racing – they gave me amazing pit stops and a car to win. I’m definitely excited, cause this is Toronto and this is an IndyCar town.”
Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves, who finished behind the two CFH Chevy’s in third, applauded CFH’s efforts and dismissed claims from others who say the team is simply getting lucky.
“They are doing a great job and put themselves in the right place at the right time,” Castroneves said. “People say they are very lucky but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than be good. I haven’t won a race yet so I’d like to be that lucky. It makes a statement that in the Verizon IndyCar Series that if you work hard it will pay off.”
Castroneves’ result allowed him to move closer to Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power in the standings. Power was fourth behind Castroneves, while Montoya finished seventh overall. Sebastien Bourdais, who was extremely fast Sunday and for a moment looked as though he might take the win, finished fifth overall, while Scott Dixon was eighth. Chevys swept the top eight positions, with Graham Rahal being the most well-placed Honda driver in ninth.
The IndyCar series heads back to the oval next week for the MAV TV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in California on June 27. Montoya, Power and Dixon remain the series’ points leaders in that order, with Rahal and Bourdais in fourth and fifth, respectively.