WATCH ABOVE: Toronto Honda Indy held two races on Sunday due to weather conditions on Saturday causing some issues for race car drivers. Cindy Pom reports.
TORONTO – Mike Conway was the surprise winner of a collision-filled second race at the Honda Indy Toronto.
Conway, a road- and street-course specialist, went to the pits early for new tires then stayed out on course as the leaders pitted to put him in position to win the 11-turn, 2.81-kilometre race at Exhibition Place on Sunday.
A collision returned cars to pit lane under a red flag with under five minutes to go after the race was changed from 65 laps to a timed, 80-minute event.
When the race resumed all Conway needed to do was hit the throttle and take the checkered flag after starting 11th on the grid.
Tony Kanaan finished second while Will Power was third.
The win is Conway’s second of the season after he finished first at Long Beach in April, and the fourth of his career.
Sebastien Bourdais won the opening race from the pole for his first IndyCar victory in six years. Overall points leader Helio Castroneves finished second, followed by Kanaan.
Bourdais also previously won in Toronto in 2004. Prior to Sunday his last victory was in the now defunct Champ Car series in 2007 at Mexico City.
Both races were held Sunday after rain Saturday postponed the first race of a planned weekend doubleheader.
The afternoon race featured a standing start, which is rare for IndyCar. Justin Wilson’s stalled start was the only blip, although a yellow flag was waved before the opening lap was completed when Kanaan lost power heading into a corner.
Everything went well through the first 11 laps. But then, once again, the rain began to fall.
Canadian James Hinchcliffe, Juan Pablo Montoya and Mikhail Aleshin were the first victims of the wet surface. Montoya slid into a corner and Aleshin followed by wedging underneath Montoya. Hinchcliffe slid into the tire barrier in the same corner but had to wait for safety crews to pull Montoya’s car off Aleshin.
The incident wiped out any hope Hinchcliffe had of winning a race that has caused him nothing but heartache during his four-year IndyCar career. The Oakville, Ont., native finished 18th in the afternoon after settling for eighth place in the morning, which matched his career best in Toronto.
More spins followed as cars tried to adjust to the suddenly wet track.
Castroneves held his lead, helped out by Power’s inability to make a pass on the slick corners. Drivers appeared hesitant to overtake – just staying in one piece because the priority.
But Power finally made his move on Lap 43. His car danced around the outside of Castroneves on a corner, although another yellow flag kept him from opening up a gap. Meanwhile, away from the action, Conway went to the pits early to get on fresh tires as the track dried.
Power held his advantage when the leaders went to the pits for a tire change, but several drivers including Conway stayed out on track to move to the front of the grid.
Conway took the lead on Lap 51, while Castroneves dropped off the pace. Conway benefited from yet another delay when another collision collected several cars including Ryan Hunter-Reay and triggered a red flag.
Castroneves, who led 32 laps of the race, finished 12th.
© The Canadian Press, 2014