Comfortable setting

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 PM ET

Will Power sits at the top of the IZOD IndyCar series championship and he want to stay there.

The Australian said that Friday’s practice session should be all he needs to refresh his memory of the bumpy, tight Exhibition Place temporary street course, and that will go a long way in keeping his

No. 1 spot on the leaderboard.

Just in case those drivers chasing him in the title race need reminding, Power has done pretty well for himself racing in Canada.

He has won at both the Honda Indy Toronto — in 2007 with Walker Racing — and at the Honda Indy Edmonton with Team Penske last season.

Power also finished second last year to winner Dario Franchitti in Toronto.

“I can’t put my finger on what it is about racing in Canada,” he said. “But I feel really comfortable. I love that there is a racing culture in Canada and that the fans are passionate about the sport.”

Power knows, however, that Toronto is a challenge and that he has to avoid the pitfalls that go hand-in-hand with a narrow street racing track.

“Toronto is a tough race,” he said. “There is always a lot of action there on the street circuit, which means the key to winning is to stay out of trouble.

“We ran well here last year and I am confident that the Verizon car will be fast this weekend as well.”

One of the drivers he will be on the look out for is Paul Tracy in he No. 15 KV Racing Technology Dallara.

The hometown hero has a list a mile long on why he wants to win the race. It will be only his second IndyCar start this season and the second of only three he is contracted to compete in.

“A win on Sunday in Toronto could mean a job for me the rest of this season and possible all of next season,” said Tracy, who has wins in Toronto in 1993 and 2003.

Last year, Tracy had a win in sight when he was wrecked in an altercation with Power’s teammate Helio Castroneves. It’s something both have put behind them,

Castroneves said he just wants to concentrate on winning for Team Penske.

“It is a very challenging street circuit with a lot of concrete patches throughout the different corners, which makes it interesting for everyone,” Castroneves said. “I feel like we are due to have a good result there.”

The other Canadian in the race is Montreal’s Alex Tagliani who has a good a chance as anybody to win on Sunday in his No. 77 Hot Wheels FAZZT Racing team car.

He has had two podium finishes here on his resume and would love nothing more that to join Tracy as the only Canadians to win an IndyCar race on home soil.

“I was on the podium here at the Honda Indy Toronto in 2001 and again in 2005 and it’s always a race I want to do well in, not only because it’s Canada but because the fans are so supportive and the atmosphere is amazing,” Tagliani said. “I thought last year I was going to steal the win at Toronto. I led the whole race until really late when someone crashed, the caution came out, closed the pits and destroyed our race right there.”

He’ll get another chance on Sunday.


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