"I think fans like it", reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud told Indycar.com. "Obviously, Helio (Castroneves) has been on a tear this year and I need some poles in order to catch up on that competition". Last year: Will Power won after turning a record-setting lap in qualifying. "But we're just having fun with that, so that's why the entrance was a bit flamboyant". He is now a disappointing 16th in points and has had several incidents this season resulting in crashed race cars, mostly recently last week at Iowa while running in the top 5.
James Hinchcliffe is the face of the Honda Indy Toronto, so beating the hometown favourite at his race is that much sweeter for Josef Newgarden.
His best starting position on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place before this year was second.
"That is twice I have had good calls and got into the pits at the right time", Newgarden said. We just laid it all on the line there and put together our best lap of the weekend, so that one felt good for sure. "I feel that. I feel that responsibility". The 26-year-old Tennessee driver has five career victories, also winning in Alabama in April.
Two incidents in earlier qualifying rounds affected drivers Esteban Gutierrez and JR Hildebrand. Alexander Rossi, who may have had the most impressive vehicle all day, finished in second. "Exclusive Autosport is fully Canadian, every member on it is pretty well Canadian, so to win not only with a Canadian home crowd but also a Canadian team, the words just don't describe it".
"We hit the ground pretty hard in the last 18 months trying to make it happen", says Hinchcliffe, who has had contact with some NASCAR outfits but things haven't progressed to the point where there's any solid lead on a seat. We've been looking for a breakthrough this year. With any luck, it's possible the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports star would have three or even four podiums on street circuits rather than two. Power has two wins on the year and he has been the best driver in the series since his slow start to the season. "We just take what it gives us and make decisions based on the conditions at the time".
Hildebrand slid into the wall at the exit of Turn 8 in Segment 2 qualifying, when his auto jumped the curb on the inside of the corner and slid straight into the barrier.
"We made the most of the out-lap because we jumped all the guys that stayed out longer than us".
Sunday's IndyCar race will air on CNBC, getting the boot onto NBC's business network thanks to NBCSN prioritizing coverage of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire.
"I nearly threw up before the race and I've never done that before, so it was quite interesting how my body took it", an ecstatic Thompson said after the race while draped in a Canadian flag. "We all want to be the fastest man". "Luckily we're going out".