Toronto notes: Honda Canada extends sponsorship through 2020

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TORONTO – Green Savoree Promotions, which owns and operates the Honda Indy Toronto, announced an extension of its agreement with Honda Canada Inc. to continue as title sponsor of the Verizon IndyCar Series race through 2020. 

Indy cars have raced on the streets of Exhibition Place every year but one since 1986. Honda Canada has sponsored the event since 2009, when Green Savoree Promotions relaunched the race weekend following a one-year-hiatus. The 2018 Honda Indy Toronto will be a mark Honda's 10th year of partnership.

“Honda's DNA is built on racing – a heritage started by our founder, Mr. (Soichiro) Honda – which we've celebrated and are very proud of for nearly 60 years," said Dave Gardner, president & CEO of Honda Canada Inc. “Honda and INDYCAR have enjoyed a fantastic partnership over the last nine years bringing racing excitement to the streets of Toronto.”

Josef Newgarden won Sunday’s 85-lap race, the 33rd in Toronto (including doubleheader race weekends in 2013 and ’14). Among the Indy car greats to win on the temporary street circuit have been Michael Andretti (seven times), Bobby Rahal, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr. and Alex Zanardi.

“Honda Canada's commitment has been tremendous," said Jeff Atkinson, president of Honda Indy Toronto. “We have really focused the last few years on creating an experience appealing to families, and Honda has been phenomenal in helping us accomplish this ambition. We can't wait to get started on planning for next year's event with our great partners at Honda Canada on board for another three years."

Green Savoree Promotions operates and promotes two other Verizon IndyCar Series events – the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Newgarden’s win for Chevy tightens manufacturer championship

Championship leader Scott Dixon holds a narrow three-point lead over Helio Castroneves after 12 races of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Meanwhile, the competition for the manufacturer championship is nearly as tight following Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.

With five races remaining in the 2017 season, Honda has a 23-point advantage over Chevrolet, which the past five manufacturers’ crowns.

Bolstered by Josef Newgarden’s win in Toronto, Chevrolet earned 88 points for the weekend to 75 for Honda. Typifying the close competition, each manufacturer has won six races this season. Honda – which had won the first four temporary street-course races this season until Sunday – has accumulated 1,045 points through 12 races to 1,022 for Chevrolet.

“With five races remaining on the schedule, the championship battle is very tight,” said Mark Kent, director of motorsports competition for Chevrolet. “We look forward to the competition as we head into the stretch contending for our sixth straight manufacturer championship in the Verizon IndyCar Series."

Points in the manufacturer championship are awarded in similar fashion to the drivers’ championship, with the race winner earning 50 points for the manufacturer, second place earning 40 points and so on. However, an entry may only earn manufacturer points if using a points-eligible engine.

Per INDYCAR rule, only the first four engines used by an entry are eligible to earn manufacturer points unless the entry has reached the full-season mileage threshold (10,000 miles) with its first four engines. If an entry is using an engine not eligible to earn manufacturer points, it is removed from the finishing order to determine manufacturer points.

Therefore, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe – who finished third in the race – was not eligible to earn manufacturer points since he was using his sixth engine of the season and was not included in the finishing order for manufacturer points. Honda’s Marco Andretti, who finished fourth in the race, slotted up a spot to third for manufacturer points and Chevrolet’s Simon Pagenaud, who finished fifth in the race, moved up a position to fourth for manufacturer points.

“After winning four street-circuit races this year, it’s hard to complain about a 2-3-4 finish (Sunday), and seven in the top 10,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. “And we’re still leaving here with Scott (Dixon) continuing to lead the drivers’ championship and heading to Mid-Ohio, where he has proven to be very difficult to beat.”

Manufacturers also earn one point for winning the pole position at a race and five bonus points for a race win. In addition, points doubling those earned by the top two full-season finishers for each manufacturer at the Indianapolis 500 were awarded once those entries achieved the 2,000-mile mark with the engines used in the May 28 race. That means Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato earned a total of 100 points and third-place finisher Ed Jones 70 points for Honda, while Helio Castroneves earned 80 points and Carlos Munoz 48 points for Chevrolet when their respective engines reached that threshold recently.

Foyt’s horse finishes second in Indiana Derby

His “horses” may not have reached the podium in the Honda Indy Toronto, but Verizon IndyCar Series team owner A.J. Foyt fared better with an actual equine over the weekend. Colonelsdarktemper, a thoroughbred owned by the racing legend, finished second in Saturday’s $500,000 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana.

Race favorite Irap won by five lengths over Colonelsdarktemper, who went off at 10-to-1 odds. Foyt’s horse is trained by Jinx Fires and was ridden by jockey Earlie Fires. Foyt’s grandson, former Verizon IndyCar Series driver A.J. Foyt IV, attended the race.

Carlos Munoz finished 15th and Conor Daly 17th as AJ Foyt Racing entries in the Honda Indy Toronto.

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