By Lori Bosworth
It looked for a while like the Honda Indy Toronto’s #2inTO races would result in only one race taking place due to inclement weather on Saturday, July 19, 2014. Fortunately, the weather cooperated on Sunday, July 20, 2014 and the two races went ahead on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Torontonicity was invited to watch the race and attended Race 2 on Sunday.
The weather conditions for Race 1 on Saturday, July 19, 2014 were so bad that even the pace car spun out of control on the slippery track. Race 1 was postponed to Sunday morning. The weather on Sunday was fine and Race 1 proceeded with a rolling start. Sebastien Bourdais placed first, Helio Castroneves placed second and Tony Kanaan placed third.
By Sunday afternoon, threatening clouds were appearing in the sky, which convinced the race organizers to move the race up from 4:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. On the first lap of the shortened 65-lap race, there was a Full Course Yellow after Tony Kanaan could not make Turn 3. At Lap 12, another Full Course Yellow occurred as Juan Pablo Montoya made contact with the tires at Turn 8. Both James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin made contact with the stationary Montoya. At Lap 20, Mikhail Aleshin’s car collided at Turn 8 as the conditions were now very wet. Aleshin noted later, “It was getting so hot from this car I couldn’t breathe at all because the car is very hot and I was just sitting under this car…and it was not a nice feeling at all.”
At Lap 24 with debris on the track, there was another Full Course Yellow. With rain falling, it was looking like this race could be in jeopardy. A race must get to 33 laps to become official. Visibility for the racers was bad and it was wetter on the backstretch. At Lap 31, there was another Full Course Yellow as Luca Filippi made contact with the tires in Turn 8. The rain started to let up. The track was getting drier, but was still slick in corners. As the road dries, cars’ rain tires become less effective, thus, racers started to change their tires to slicks. There was another Full Course Yellow, the fourth of the race, at Lap 44 as Saavedra made contact with the tire barrier in Turn 3. At Lap 51, a multi-car accident at Turn 3 resulted in another Full Course Yellow. At Lap 52, there was a Red Flag and the clock was stopped with 4:32 minutes remaining. The Green Flag was waved at Lap 54 and Mike Conway won the race.
A press conference after Race 2 featured a Q&A with the winner, second place and third place finishers, Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power respectively. The racers seemed exhausted after the two-race day.
Winner Mike Conway noted: “The conditions today were really tricky. As soon as it started to rain, it was like ice…some parts of the concrete were slippery, particularly at Turn 3; it became hard to pass…it’s one of the challenges of Toronto,” he added alluding to the fact that Toronto’s course is the only street circuit. Asked about his decision to change to slick tires [used in dry conditions], Conway replied, “I could see how it was drying up in places in the backstretch; I knew how humid it was, it would dry quickly. Slicks would be for sure quicker.”
Tony Kanaan noted about Dario Franchitti: “I had a big responsibility replacing Dario. His retirement was unexpected.” “It’s great to have him. He just told me some secrets that I didn’t know. I asked him, ‘What should we do? Should we start with red tires?’ He even cleaned by helmet.”
When asked about his strategy for Race 2 and the weather conditions, Will Power replied: “You take a big risk and win the race or be smart and come in third.”
Tony Kanaan noted, “We’re tired. It was a long day. I think I will feel it a little tonight and tomorrow.”