Ontario Independent

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

In qualifying for the Honda Indy Toronto, Herta takes the pole position

Herta wins the Honda Indy Toronto qualifying race.

Key Takeaways:

  • The 22-year-old IndyCar rookie will start in his best-ever position at the Honda Indy Toronto after placing 12th in qualifying on Saturday.
  • The 41-year-old Dixon is fighting with legendary Mario Andretti for second place in IndyCar history with 51 career triumphs, one victory behind him.
  • In place of Kellett, rookie teammates Kyle Kirkwood and Conor Daly, who were both flagged in the first round of elimination, will not start.

At his local IndyCar race, Devlin DeFrancesco set a new career high.

The Honda Indy Toronto will see the 22-year-old IndyCar rookie start in his highest-ever position after finishing 12th in qualifying on Saturday.

DeFrancesco expressed his delight at the outcome on the Exhibition Place street circuit, which had a major influence on him as a teenage racing enthusiast.

DeFrancesco recalled that he attended his first IndyCar race when he was 12 years old. “I was watching from the suites, directly above the last corner.

“To be here ten years later and qualify for this event with my career-best performance is wonderful.”

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In the second round of elimination, DeFrancesco completed the race in one minute, 14.8882 seconds. He entered the overrun at Turn 1 through the Princes’ Gates archway after his brakes stopped.

“I believe it demonstrates our growth. DeFrancesco, who had a solid qualifying time despite the setback, stated, “Slowly but surely, for sure. I think we had more, so I also have a bit of a bittersweet sensation.

“But we’ll take this with us and go on to get a positive outcome tomorrow,” said the speaker.

Colton Herta of the United States won qualifying in 59.2698 seconds, earning the pole position for the race on Sunday. Scott Dixon of New Zealand, a three-time Honda Indy champion, finished second in 59.3592, and American Josef Newgarden finished third in 59.5257.

Herta, who also posted the quickest time in the second session earlier on Saturday, remarked, “It couldn’t have been much better.” We had a wonderful race vehicle in the morning, so we made a small adjustment, which turned out to be quick this afternoon.

With 51 career victories, the 41-year-old Dixon is vying for the second-most victories in IndyCar history, trailing only the legendary Mario Andretti by one. With 67, A.J. Foyt holds the all-time lead.

Dixon, who joined Herta at the dais for the news conference, said, “I was just trying to keep up with the track.” Dixon shook Herta’s hand. There are always things you can demonstrate, but congratulations to Colton—that was a fantastic lap.

Herta wins the Honda Indy Toronto qualifying race.
Herta wins the Honda Indy Toronto qualifying race. Image from Sportsnet

“I’m excited to get off to a fast start and maybe have a clean day.”

On Sunday’s grid, Dalton Kellett of Stoufville, Ontario, will be in position 23. After his engine broke down during qualifying, he failed to set a time.

Kyle Kirkwood, a rookie teammate, and Conor Daly, both flagged in the opening round of elimination, will not start in place of Kellett.

As the Honda Indy was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Canadian drivers competed in the race for the first time. Race week has been “wonderful,” according to DeFrancesco, although it has been hectic with visits to family and friends, greeting fans, and media appearances.

DeFrancesco added, “It was fantastic to obtain a nice outcome for us,” and he thanked all his supporters. It’s really about absorbing everything and anticipating a fantastic day tomorrow, according to the speaker.

The current champion is Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, who triumphed in the most recent IndyCar race in 2019.

Source: CTV News

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