USF2000 Race #2 2nd Place Rinus VeeKay
USF2000 Race #2 3rd Place Kaylen Frederick
MX-5 Cup Race #2 Winner Patrick Gallagher
MX-5 Cup Race #2 2nd Place Matt Cresci
MX-5 Cup Race #2 3rd Place Nathan Sparks
Indy Lights Race #2 Winner Kyle Kaiser
Indy Lights Race #2 2nd Place Aaron Telitz
Indy Lights Race #2 3rd Place Zachary Calman De Melo
GT3 Cup Race #2 Winner Scott Hargrove
GT3 Cup Race #2 2nd Place Zacharie Robichon
All the hype surrounded Josef Newgarden who captured his second checkered flag in Toronto of his young illustrious career on Sunday afternoon, however by then four other races had already concluded. The USF2000, MX-5 Cup, Indy Lights and Porsche GT3 all ran their second races of the weekend before the big show hit the track. Despite the threats of rain in the forecast, the sun did a great job of keeping to the inside lane and shined intermediately throughout the day, allowing race fans to enjoy the third and final day of the Honda Indy to the fullest.
The first race of the day was Race #2 of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Toronto, which was a 30 minute timed race. Yesterday saw the Canadian Parker Thompson take the checkered flag in Race #1, as the Red Deer, Alberta native added 32 points to his 143 points he had coming into the weekend to have 175 before Sunday's battle. Unlike Saturday's race though, where he won the pole and therefore started from 1st, he would have to start the day from 4th. Florida native Oliver Askew picked up 25 points for his second place finish yesterday, got even better positioning by winning the pole for Race #2 with a time of 1:12:2192 and would get to enjoy starting the race from 1st. While rookie David Malukas would start from the 2nd spot with a time of 1:12:4123 after only completing 9 laps for a 15th place finish on Saturday. The rookie from Bangalore, India Ricky Donison did not start in Race #2 after having mechanical issues after completing 7 laps the previous race. Once the green flag was waved it didn’t take long for the Streets of Toronto to rough up another car, on lap #1 the Brazilian Lucas Kohl would be introduced to turn #11 and would knock himself out of the race. Alex Baron found himself in the lead after the first 5 laps, but he would get into a three car incident on lap #9 which ended his day and David Malukas, while Thompson managed to escape unharmed. Parker Thompson would end up walking through the door of opportunity to take the lead and he continued to be the leader into lap #13 when another yellow flag was waved with 10 minutes left in the race. By lap #17 the top 3 racers were; Thompson, Rinus VeeKay and Kaylen Frederick. Amazing for the 15-year old American starting from the 13th position in Frederick after only completed 2 laps Saturday's race before wiping out. He would hang on for the 3rd place finish and the Dutchman Rinus VeeKay improved on yesterday's 3rd place finish by grabbing 2nd place. While Parker Thompson went back to back claiming victories in both races, the very first time him and his team were able to accomplish such a feat, while on Canadian soil no less.
After a few minutes, Race #2 of the MX-5 Cup was ready to rumble for the racing fans still pouring into Exhibition Place, timed for 30 minutes in length. Palm Springs, California native Robert Stout claimed victory in Race #1 yesterday, but had trouble duplicating his success in Toronto and would finish near the back of the pack on the day. Todd Lamb (Atlanta, Georgia) did not start the race despite claiming 5th during qualifications and on lap #4 Alex Bachoura (Houston, Texas) drew a yellow flag after contact knocked him out of the event. Patrick Gallagher finished in 2nd place in Race #1, but won the pole for a second straight day to start in 1st place yet again. He would make no mistakes this time, continuing to lead the way after 15 laps of action and would go onto win his sixth race of the season. Rookie Matt Cresci (San Jose, California) would give Gallagher a good run for his money though, reaching the podium for the first time in his young MX-5 Cup career. While the 2016 Champion in Nathanial Sparks (Spanish Fort, Alabama) finished out the top 3.
After the Indy cars got their warm-ups in for the big race later on in the day, being able to do final checks and make any last minute adjustments, it was time for the third race of Sunday: Race #2 of the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto. Yesterday saw Juncos Racing Team's Kyle Kaiser take the checkered flag in a time of 41:28:4746 with an average speed of 90.431 MPH. He was an impressive 00:03:6118 ahead of the second place driver who was Canadian Zachary Claman De Melo and 00:04:7984 in front of the third place Uruguayan driver Santi Urrutia. Santi would start in front of Kyle Kaiser after qualifying for second place to start Race #2, while Kyle would start from third place. The Montreal, Quebec native Claman De Melo would start back from fifth position, but the big story out of Race #2's qualifier was American rookie Colton Herta. The native of Valencia, California won the pole with a time of 1:05:0449, just 0:00:0203 better than Santi Urrutia. The 45 lap race took until lap #1 for its first yellow flag which saw Neil Alberico (Los Gatos, California), Shelby Blackstock (Nashville, Tennessee) and rookie Nico Jamin (Rouen, France) days come to an end after a nasty collision. One that all three drivers were lucky to escape from unharmed, although a tough pill to swallow for Jamin after only getting in 3 laps before contact with the wall had pulled him from Race #1, he would total 4 out of a possible 90 laps in Toronto this weekend. Sanit Urrutia ended up having mechanical issues with his vehicle on lap #11 to become driver #4 to have his race cut short. The track would continue to give drivers nightmares as sprinkles of rain started to drop from the sky, as rookie Colton Herta while maintaining his pole position on lap #26 would have his driver's rear tire give out forcing him to vacate the competition. Canadian Dalton Kellett completed 21 laps in Race #1 before going off course and concluding his day. The hometown boy would be in the hunt for the podium for the first half of the race, only to lockup his brakes and send the nose of his car in the tire wall ended his day prematurely for a second straight day, this time on lap #30. Not at all what he wanted, but compared to Nico Jamin, completing 51 out of 90 laps is a lot better than 4 out of 90 laps. With 5 laps to go in the race and the sun battling the clouds in the Toronto sky the top 3 were; Kyle Kaiser, rookie Aaron Telitz and Canadian Zachary Claman De Melo. Just like Parker Thompson did earlier in the day for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Toronto, Kyle Kaiser for the first time in his racing career would win back to back races for the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto. While American rookie Aaron Telitz (Rice Lake, Wisconsin) would go from the 7th position at the start of the race to second on the podium and the Canadian Zachary Calman De Melo would reach the podium for the second straight day finishing third.
The final race before the big one was Race #2 of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama. Yesterday saw Scott Hargrove take the checkered flag in Race #1 with a total time of 46:06:948 over 34 laps for an average speed of 77.609 MPH. Finishing 0:01:995 faster than Zacherie Robichon and 0:03:246 better than Patrick Dussault who rounded out the podium. The 45 minute timed race, didn’t have any incidences at the beginning except for Jim Walker who spun out taking turn #10, in clear and present danger Walker would have to carefully turn himself around without causing an accident. This put him at the bottom of the pack, while Hargrove maintained a lead with roughly twenty minutes left in the race. With less than fifteen minutes remaining Gianmarco Raimondo would be assaulted by turn #11 having his car take heavy damage to passenger rear tire, ending his day. With five minutes left in the race the top 3 were; Scott Hargrove, Zacharie Robichon and Michael de Quesada. With three minutes left a yellow flag came into play when Roman De Angelis would miss his turn and ended up frozen in a dangerous spot. This would allow Hargrove to become the third driver on the weekend to win back to back races, with Zacharie Robichon and Michael de Quesada joining him on the podium.
As much as Josef Newgarden deserves the attention for winning the 31st Indy race in Toronto later in the day, you could make the argument that Parker Thompson, Kyle Kaiser and Scott Hargrove deserve twice as much. As the USF2000, Indy Lights and Porsche GT3 drivers displayed near perfect driving while obtaining a double-dose of checkered flags. Kyle Kaiser already seems poised enough to be in the big race, while the Canadians in Thompson and Hargrove appear to have a huge amount of potential in the racing world. Even Patrick Gallagher deserve credit, although failing to be the fourth driver to win back to back races in Toronto, his 2nd and 1st place finishing were as close as you could get without pulling it off. No matter what style of racing you’re a fan of, every driver laid it all on line this weekend to chase down glory, while expanding their fan base in the process.