First practice for Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto is in the books, and the manufacturer in the race’s title was up to the task early on.
Six Honda drivers, led by Scott Dixon, paced the 23-car field in the weekend’s first on-track action as Chevrolet placed only Will Power and Matheus Leist inside the top-10.
Dixon’s 105.842 mph lap was a couple tenths of a second quicker than Graham Rahal in his No. 15 Honda. Both Rahal Letterman Lannigan machines placed inside the top four with Rahal P2 (105.510 mph) and Takuma Sato P4 (105.395 mph).
Sandwiching Sato were a pair of Andretti Autosport teammates as Alexander Rossi was third-quickest at 105.440 mph while Marco Andretti cracked the top-five at 105.318 mph. Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the “Honda Fast Six” with a quickest average lap speed at 105.178 mph.
Filling out the top ten was the aforementioned Power in 7th, another Andretti Autosport entry in Ryan Hunter-Reay (8th), A.J. Foyt Racing’s Matheus Leist (9th) and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ed Jones at P10.
While Team Penske often thrives on street circuits with their superior damper systems, Roger Penske’s boys were a bit lower on the speed charts this morning. Power was the only representative inside the top-10, while Simon Pagenaud (12th) and Josef Newgarden (13th) were on the outside looking in.
An easy bet would see them move up the time sheets this afternoon for practice number two.
Checking in on the Canadian representatives this week, Robert Wickens was P11 for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports while his teammate James Hinchcliffe was 18th-fast. The most recent IndyCar race winner, Hinchcliffe, ran his fastest lap on his final lap of the session.
The third and final Canadian driver racing in his native country this weekend is Zachary Claman De Melo. The rookie was 19th on the board this morning in his No. 19 Paysafe Honda after completing 23 laps.
This weekend Harding Racing made an interesting switch by moving Gabby Chaves out and Conor Daly into the No. 88 Chevrolet for the Honda Indy Toronto. Daly, running on his first street course since Toronto in 2017, was P20 with a fastest average lap speed at 103.062 mph.
The session was not without its moments. Teammates Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay each brushed the wall during practice while Ed Carpenter Racing’s Jordan King made light contact with the tire barrier.
A total of 417 laps were turned in the session, and Rene Binder (P23, 102.911 mph) completed the most circuits with 24 tallies to his name.
Teams will hit the track once again this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Eastern for the second 45-minute practice of the day. Action can be seen live at RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
The Honda Indy Toronto is Sunday, July 15 with the green flag at approximately 3:40 p.m Eastern time. Coverage on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network starts at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.
Image courtesy of Shawn Gritzmacher/INDYCAR Media.