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The 2012 IndyCar title rivals among those with a tough two days in Toronto

Jul 15, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

Ryan Hunter-Reay; Will Power AP

Ryan Hunter-Reay won at Toronto in 2012 and finished third in 2011. Will Power is a two-time Toronto winner.

The two combined didn’t have a finish better than 15th in either race this weekend.

They are among those needing to leave their bad luck behind in Canada and move onto Mid-Ohio seeking a rebound. Here’s what happened to them and some of the others who could have used a better weekend in Toronto.

  • Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power. What a tough weekend for the championship rivals of 2012. “RHR,” whose momentum was rolling through the short oval run of the season, has hit the skids in the last three races through almost no fault of his own. On Saturday, the defending champion had two stalls on pit lane and a nose change that ultimately left him 18th. He ended a spot worse on Sunday after last lap contact with Power exiting Turn 1, heading to Turn 2. Power’s trouble spot all weekend was Turn 3, as twice on Saturday he overcooked his braking point and slid off line, while the contact on Sunday left him 18th.
  • Takuma Sato. If Franchitti’s been the top riser in points, Sato has been on an uncontrollable decline since Brazil. He led the points entering Indianapolis; he’s now 12th, nine races later, with just one top-10 finish in that time frame. He retired with a broken exhaust header on Saturday and from contact on Sunday after being caught up in the RHR-Power contact, with nowhere to go. Tough days for the A.J. Foyt Racing team and driver, who seek to recapture their early season momentum.
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The pair of Graham Rahal and James Jakes took four combined top-10s at Detroit and a grand total of zero from Toronto. Rahal’s Saturday charge was halted by contact with Tristan Vautier – which didn’t amuse his dad and team boss Bobby – and an anonymous run to 13th occurred on Sunday. Jakes, meanwhile, had the pace to be a contender as he made the Firestone Fast Six on Friday, but was saddled with a 10-spot grid penalty. He recovered to 12th. On Sunday, Jakes made a rare mistake when he hit the curbs hard through Turn 5, with the jolt forcing his hands off the wheel and sending him into the wall.
  • Sebastian Saavedra. The Colombian has punched above his weight at times this year, but with a mostly new crew in his camp and teammate Sebastien Bourdais finally finding form with new engineer, it was a rough weekend for the “junior Seb” at Dragon Racing. Last place on the grid on Saturday and getting caught up on the Lap 65 four-car pileup then left him 16th, while he was slightly better on Sunday, ending 15th. Saavedra is just three points ahead of Mike Conway – Saavedra has driven all 13 races this year, Conway just five.
  1. racingmatt - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    What was the outcome of Dario not meeting the tire regs. He did not run 2 green flag laps on the red tires. I heard mention of it on the broadcast but that’s it. Was this covered somewhere that I missed? Was there some type of exception for the Target team?

    • racingmatt - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      Talking about during the second race of the weekend.

      • Tony DiZinno - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:32 PM

        Here’s how it played out. Here’s a rule from the start of the year, from the 2013 INDYCAR Rulebook:

        14.14.6.6.3.1 A Car must complete two Green Condition laps on each type of tire. The second of which may be completed in pit lane even if the Car is pitted prior to the Start/Finish line. Any Entrant failing to comply with this Rule shall receive a minimum one lap penalty.

        Now, later this year, INDYCAR made an addendum that on doubleheader race weekends, because Firestone only allots three sets of the alternate reds, if a tire is damaged in race conditions, this rule can be waived.

        NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis identified that addendum on the race broadcast and after the TCGR team asked INDYCAR officials if Dario was good to go to the regulations, and yes was the answer. So no penalty enforced.

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