Bourdais, Conway Nab Victories In Toronto
Mike Conway easily held off Tony Kanaan over the final four minutes to win Race 2 of Sunday’s IndyCar Series double-header in Toronto.
Conway took the lead in the race – a large chunk of which was run in the rain – just before red flags waved because of a multi-car wreck with 4 minutes and 33 seconds to go in the timed event.
The victory was the third of the season for the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing car – which is being driven by team owner Ed Carpenter (one win in 2014) on ovals and Conway on road/street circuits.
“Good fun out there,” Conway, who won for the fourth time in his IndyCar career, said. “I enjoyed those last few laps.”
Sebastien Bourdais drove the No. 11 Hydroxycut KVSH Racing Chevrolet to victory in the rain-postponed Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto double-header on Sunday.
The victory was the 32nd of Bourdais’s career and it came by by 3.3408 seconds over Verizon IndyCar Series championship front-runner Helio Castroneves.
Bourdais broke a tie with Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy for eighth on the all-time win list.
“It’s really sweet. We had to fight and wait for it for a long time but today was just kind of one of these days when the stars align,” said Bourdais, who earned the Verizon P1 Award on Saturday. “I guess I was not expecting it because here I know how things can go. Last year we were second and third and it’s great to get this win.”
Bourdais, 35, who resides in St. Petersburg, Fla., closed the 2007 season with victories at Surfers Paradise, Australia, and Mexico City – the latter on Nov. 11 — to secure his fourth consecutive Champ Car World Series title for Newman/Haas Racing.
He moved to Europe to compete in Formula One for two seasons, and then drove in the SuperLeague Formula in 2010.
Bourdais competed in nine Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2011 for Dale Coyne Racing, made 11 starts for Dragon Racing the next season and contested his first full season in 2013 with Dragon Racing.
His dominating victory was the first for KVSH Racing since Tony Kanaan won the 2013 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and its fourth overall.
“I got a big smile across my face and I can’t seem to get rid of it,” Bourdais said. “It’s just really cool. The whole race I was stressed out, it felt too easy, it felt like it was way too much under control and it felt like it was way going to go wrong at some point.”
“He dominated from start to finish and we’re very proud of him,” team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven said. “He’s had some unlucky breaks but showed today what a strong driver he is.”
Kanaan finished third for the second consecutive race in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, while teammate Scott Dixon – who swept the Toronto doubleheader last July – finished fifth. Simon Pagenaud, whose No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports car was involved in a Lap 1 incident that brought out a red flag, rallied to finish fourth.
“The car was actually pretty good right at the beginning,” runner-up Castroneves said. “I mean, obviously Sebastien and KV did a great job to keep him in front, and it was difficult because the tires started going away, and it was just a matter of trying to just collect more points.”
“Sebastien Bourdais was in a class all his own,” Kanaan said, “so it was pretty hard to fight for the win but I tried to keep up with Helio and Hunter Reay at the time, and I knew my car toward the end of the stint, it wasn’t as good as theirs, so I was just trying to hang in there, and we had a pretty good stop and finished third. It’s an okay day. We still have a little bit to improve I think if we want to win races, but we’re heading to the right direction.”
In Race 2, Will Power finished third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car and Charlie Kimball advanced 14 positions relative to his starting spot in the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chip Ganassi Racing car to finish fourth. Takuma Sato rebounded from 23rd place in Race 1 to finish a season-high fifth in the No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing entry.
Verizon IndyCar Series championship front-runner Helio Castroneves, the pole sitter as the race lineup for the standing start was determined by entrant points, sustained wing damage on the No. 3 PPG Team Penske car on the final lap and dropped to 12th place. He holds a 13-point lead over Power through 14 of the 18 races.
Conway was the second to switch from Firestone rain tires to alternate tires on Lap 43 as the 1.755-mile, 11-turn street circuit was drying following a light rain that started on Lap 12. He was running third after gaining one position on a Lap 49 restart and overtook Justin Wilson and Josef Newgarden – both still on rain tires – for first on Lap 50.
Carpenter said the call on the tires was Conway’s.
“That’s Mike,” the team owner said. “He was out there on the track and he said he was ready for drys. We probably thought it was a little early so this one is definitely all him and he did a great job.”
Conway explained, “The tire temperatures came in really fast and that’s what you need in those types of conditions so I could just control it and not have to push too hard and enjoy those last few laps.”
Sunday’s decision to red flag the race in order to finish it under green was not unique. It had been used before this season.
Even though his driver won, Carpenter said he was not a fan of the decision.
“I can’t say that I liked it,” he said. “It definitely worked for us today but the question is, how many times are you going to go red? We don’t seem to know what is going on a lot. It’s a great day, Mike did a great job, and great day for Fuzzy’s. Three wins for the team now and I challenged Mike this morning. I told him that I was ahead of him in points and that he had run more races. So he just put a hurting on me there.”
Kanaan, though not happy about his finish, said he and his Chip Ganassi Racing team leave Toronto in a decent mood.
“We chose at the beginning of the race to run a rain set-up because we knew the rain was coming,” he Kanaan said. “So on the last restart I knew that I was a little bit of a sitting duck. Its been a great weekend and I made a really bad mistake and I got too excited at the start of the race. One of my typical starts, I made a mistake and I had to catch up. I didn’t want to come back and look at Chip and I hate when I make mistakes. So we made it up, the team did a great job on the stops and I just got too excited on the start and got sideways. I don’t know if the 24 bumped me a little bit, I don’t know, but it was a hell of a race and good week with a third and a second. We are getting closer and closer.”No Comment