IndyCar to race twice on Sunday
TORONTO -- Persistent rain caused Verizon IndyCar Series officials to call off the first race of the "2 in TO" doubleheader weekend at the Honda Indy Toronto, and instead attempt to run two races for either 65 laps or 80 minutes (whichever comes first) on Sunday, starting at 10:30 a.m. ET and 4:15 p.m.
The grid for Race 1 will be based on Saturday morning's qualifying session, with Race 2 based on the point standings entering the Toronto weekend. Sebastien Bourdais won his first open-wheel pole since 2007 earlier Saturday.
"We're going to do everything we can to give the fans two full races," said IndyCar vice president of competition Derrick Walker. "We appreciate how the fans were lurking about until the very end."
The first race will be a rolling start, and the second will begin with a standing start.
Multiple attempts were made to start Saturday's 85-lap race, and the 23-car field actually ran 13 laps under caution, during which drivers Ryan Briscoe and Will Power crashed. But a little more than two hours after the scheduled 3:55 p.m. ET start, track activity was canceled for the day.
"I think it would have been crazy to start the race today," Walker said. "It doesn't look like a lot of water, but it's enough to make a difference. We went as late as we possibly could before we called it. We thought if we could get the race started, we could have held it off because the cars would blow the water away. But the visibility was just crazy."
The 1.755-mile temporary course that winds through the Canadian National Exhibition grounds was so slippery that two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk spun the pace car while leading the field at reduced speed.
Water pooled on the fastest part of the track, causing visibility problems for the drivers as they fought to see through a wall of spray thrown up by the rain tires on the cars ahead.
"You can't see on the back straightaway, so it's a safety issue," IndyCar Series championship leader Helio Castroneves said. "There's a difference between being brave and being stupid, and we're about to cross that area."
Power, who trails Team Penske teammate Castroneves by nine points in the IndyCar standings, got a lucky break because it took his No. 12 Verizon crew an hour to repair the suspension damage sustained in his pace lap crash. The car would have been ready to start Saturday's race from the back of the field had activity not been canceled.
"What a great second chance to be back in the race," Power said. "I can't thank my guys enough. It shows what kind of team this is."
Bourdais' lap of 58.9479 seconds (107.179 mph) on the 1.7-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place earned him his 32nd career pole. He won his first pole since Sept. 2, 2007, at Assen, Netherlands, driving for Champ Car.
Bourdais won four consecutive Champ Car titles from 2004 to '07 and has 31 career victories. He is winless in 52 career IndyCar starts.
When he was handed his trophy for the runner-up finish last year in Toronto, the crystal was not properly attached to the base. He accepted it and prepared to raise it over his head, but it slipped to the ground, bounced once then shattered.
Honda Indy organizers said that all Saturday general admission and grandstand tickets will be honored Sunday, with a special kiosk set up at entry gates for validation.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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