TORONTO — Josef Newgarden had some fun at hometown star James Hinchcliffe’s expense in the Honda Indy Toronto.
“I love beating Hinch in Canada,” Newgarden said.
Newgarden raced to his second Toronto victory in three years Sunday, dominating on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place. Hinchcliffe was third behind Alexander Rossi.
“I love Hinch. He’s a great representative, but this is so good,” Newgarden said.
Newgarden came out in front on Lap 25 after a crash by Tony Kanaan caused a caution and maintained an advantage of over two seconds for the majority of the rest of the race. The 26-year-old Tennessee driver has five career victories, also winning in Alabama in April. He gave Team Penske its 193rd victory, the most of any team.
“I think that is twice I have had good calls and got into the pits at the right time,” Newgarden said. “Thank you to the guys and thank you to Tim (Cindric) for making that call. We got it right, but it was all about managing the race after that. I thought we had a very fast car, we got a pretty good start, and stayed out of the mayhem. Very, very happy for all of Team Penske.”
Rossi had his first podium finish of the year and best result since winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500.
“It’s been a long time coming, looking for that first podium and hopefully it can be a foundation to go into more wins,” Rossi said. “At least we finally kind of got the monkey off our back. It was a huge turn around overnight by Andretti Autosport to get this car to where it needed to be.”
Hinchcliffe was third for the second straight year.
“We were catching Alex and Josef in that last stint,” Hinchcliffe said. “The car really came alive on the blacks so big thanks to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, all the guys — great stops — and all the fans in Toronto. I mean the support that we feel each and every year is amazing.”
Marco Andretti was fourth, followed by Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Max Chilton, Helio Castroneves, Graham Rahal and series leader Scott Dixon.
Dixon has a three-point lead over Castroneves with five races left.
Kanaan had his brakes lock up while leaving the pits and connected with the protective tires in Turn 1. The caution caused the top-three cars of Castroneves, Pagenaud and Rahal to fall back.
Thundershowers were a threat throughout the race but held off. It started out sunny and humid, then clouded over during the event and it rained lightly at a few points.
Newgarden said the weather threat and possibility of having to switch to a different set of tires was an added stress.
“I was concerned about that and how it would throw a wrench into the works,” Newgarden said. “If it starts raining when I’m on the wrong end of the track, then that wouldn’t be very good.”
Esteban Gutierrez, the rookie who crashed late in qualifying Saturday, was cleared to race after experiencing concussion-like symptoms. He finished 14th.