July 10, 2011
Bumpy ride for Canadians
By Dean McNulty, QMI Agency
At the end of the day there wasn’t a single Canadian among the lead lap cars at the Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place on Sunday afternoon.
And it seemed that every time there was a crash on the 2.78-km temporary street course one of the three home grown drivers — Paul Tracy, Alex Tagliani or rookie James Hinchcliffe — was involved.
In one of those incidents there was two Canucks — Tracy and Hinchcliffe — beating on one another through Turns 4 and 5 on Lap 38.
“Paul tried to make a run on the inside of Turn 3 and I held him on the outside,” Hinchcliffe said. “He tried to push me into the wall in Turn 4 and I held my ground.
“Then going into Turn 5 and I was perfectly alongside him and I gave him as much room as I could on the outside but for some reason he thought the outside was going to work and he ended up cutting my tire so we had to come in and fell right to the back.”
It also ruined Tracy’s day — he had climbed all the way from 24th to seventh by that time — as he had to pit to replace the front wing of his No. 8 Dragon Racing machine.
His run in with Hinchcliffe put Tracy two laps down, ending his hopes of a third Honda Indy Toronto win.
Hinchcliffe would end up 14th, one lap down to winner Dario Franchitti.
Tracy’s day of drama was not over, however, as on Lap 48 when he had hard contact with Vitor Meira in Turn 3. He finished 17th, three laps down.
But it was Montreal’s Alex Tagliani would be involved in the most spectacular crash of the day.
As he was racing his No. 77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports car through the treacherous Turn 3 he was clipped by Danica Patrick’s No. 7 Andretti Autosport Dallara on Lap 72 and sent flying — upside down — into the tire barrier.
It was Tagliani’s third clash of the day. He has earlier contact with Helio Castroneves and Will Power.
Tracy summed up the day for all three.
“Today wasn’t the best day for us Canadians and our team. We had a great car and made our way through the field, making it all the way to the top five. Unfortunately, cars got in our way and ended our day early, causing us to go two laps down for the rest of the day.”