James Hinchcliffe holds the Canadian Flag

Track Talk: The Honda Indy Toronto is Here!

Oh Canada! Oh IndyCar! The IndyCar series heads north of the border to the streets of Toronto. It’s the only international stop on the 2018 calendar. We preview the Honda Indy on this edition of #TrackTalk.

The Favourites

Scott Dixon: A two-time Honda Indy winner and the current points leader, Scott Dixon knows his way around Toronto. He’s also the only driver ever to win the race twice in the same weekend. Can he make it three? If he does, Dixon will be eight wins away from tying Mario Andretti for second on the all-time Indy car win list.

Josef Newgarden: The reigning IndyCar champion is also the reigning Honda Indy champion. Josef Newgarden booked his second win of 2017 in Toronto, and went on to win an additional two races (four in total) to win the championship. #DEFENDTHE1 is the name of his title defence campaign, and a repeat win could allow him to leave Toronto with the points lead.

Will Power: The three-time time Honda Indy winner swept the month of May taking the Indy GP and the Indy 500. Always a threat on street circuits he’s had his share of bad luck this season, but don’t let that fool you- Will Power is definitely a threat to win this year

Ryan Hunter-Reay: 2016 and 2017 weren’t kind to Ryan Hunter-Reay, but the introduction of the new universal aero kit has given the former Honda Indy winner a breath of fresh air. He’s been fast everywhere and already has a win in Detroit along with three other second place finishes. Can the magic from Belle Isle carry over to Toronto?

Keep Your Eye On

James Hinchcliffe: Riding a wave of momentum after his recent win at Iowa, James Hinchcliffe has two podium finishes in the last two Honda Indy races. Between his recent win and the success his rookie teammate Robert Wickens has found, SPM has never been more consistent with both drivers a threat to win at every race.

Robert Wickens: The Guelph Ontario native is having a banner rookie season. Sixth in points, a pole position, two podiums, and within laps of victory at his maiden IndyCar race in St. Petersburg. It’s rare to have a rookie listed as a likely winner- you’d have to go back to the days of Alex Zanardi and Juan Pablo Montoya for that, but Wickens has been fast everywhere. Can he break through in front of the hometown crowd? Remember, IndyCar is long overdue for a first-time winner. We have to go all the way back to Alexander Rossi’s 2016 Indy 500 victory for that.

Alexander Rossi: And speaking of Alexander Rossi- he won the Long Beach Grand Prix, is third in points, has been a threat to win at every race, and finished second in last year’s Honda Indy. Can he break through with win number two of 2018? If so, he too could leave Toronto as the point’s leader.

Sebastien Bourdais: Never count Sebastien Bourdais out. Ever. The two-time Honda Indy winner had a strong start to the season winning in St. Petersburg, but has fallen off quite a bit since. Can he start clawing back points in Toronto?

The Dark Horses:

Simon Pagenaud: It’s weird having the 2016 champ and 2017 championship runner-up listed as a dark horse, but 2018 is turning into a season that Simon Pagenaud would probably like to forget. He sits ninth in points and is yet to win a race. Can he turn his season around? It could happen in Toronto.

Graham Rahal: Always a threat on street circuits, Graham Rahal is typically a driver you can bank on to win one or two races per season. So far winless in 2018, but that could change in Toronto. Fun fact: His father, Bobby Rahal, won the first Honda Indy back in 1986.

Ed Jones: The 2017 IndyCar rookie of the year has had a pretty solid sophomore season with Chip Ganassi Racing. While it has been a little on the quiet side- especially when you consider that teammate Scott Dixon already has two wins, he has had some consistent runs that include podium finishes at Long Beach and Detroit. Could Ed Jones be the next first-time winner to breakthrough?

Victor Genova is a freelance motorsports writer and the host & founder of the Media People Podcast. You can follow him on Instagram @vicgenova