Track Talk: Honda Indy Toronto gearing up for 2020

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With the countdown to the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season in high gear, INDYCAR is highlighting the events on next year's calendar. First up: The Honda Indy Toronto, which begins its public ticket sales today:

HONDA INDY TORONTO

Track Information: 11-turn, 1.786-mile street circuit at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

Race Dates: July 10-12, 2020.

Tickets: All tickets on sale today. hondaindytoronto.com/tickets.

Event History: 36 races dating to July 20, 1986.

About Management: The event is owned and promoted by Green Savoree Racing Promotions, an Indianapolis-based motorsports event management company owned by Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. The two men were team principals in winning four NTT IndyCar Series championships and three Indianapolis 500s. Kim Green is the brother of Barry Green, another former Indy car team owner. Green Savoree Racing Promotions also owns and promotes the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Grand Prix of Portland. It also owns and manages the Mid-Ohio circuit.

Seven is Heaven: Michael Andretti is easily the winningest Indy car driver in Toronto street race history, capturing seven victories, including a stretch where he won three races in four years (1989-92). Twice he won on back-to-back trips. Scott Dixon, who won both races in 2013, is the only other Indy car driver to have won consecutive races at Exhibition Place. Dixon and Dario Franchitti each have three race wins there.

Five poles for the Scotsman: While Andretti dominated the races, Dario Franchitti was consistently the best in qualifying, winning the pole on five occasions over a 16-year period. Among active Indy car drivers, Sebastien Bourdais has won the pole four times.

Canadian Flavor: Paul Tracy is often referred to as “the Thrill from West Hill.” (West Hill is a neighborhood along Lake Ontario on Toronto’s east side.) In 1993, Tracy became the first Canadian to win an Indy car race at Exhibition Place, an event which stands as arguably the most popular moment in the history of the races there. Tracy was only 24 years old at the time, and that was his third race win for Team Penske. Teammates Emerson Fittipaldi and Danny Sullivan finished second and third, giving Roger Penske a sweep of the podium. Tracy added a second Toronto win in 2003 and remains the only Canadian to have won an Indy car race in that city.

James HinchcliffeCanadians on Podium: While there have been several Canadians competing in Indy car races at Exhibition Place, only a few have earned a spot on the podium. Paul Tracy was the first when he won in '93. His other notable finishes include a second in 1999, a third in 2000, the win in 2003 and a second in 2006. Alex Tagliani finished second in 2001 and third in 2005. Patrick Carpentier finished third in 2004. More recently, James Hinchcliffe finished third in 2016 and '17, and Robert Wickens finished third in 2018.

Da Matta Domination: In the 2002 race, Cristiano da Matta put a hurt on the field by leading all 112 laps from the pole en route to his fourth consecutive Champ Car World Series victory. It was his fifth win of that championship season. Da Matta is one of seven drivers to use the Toronto victory as a springboard to the series title, but it hasn't been done since Sebastien Bourdais in 2004.

Close, not so Close: In part because Michael Andretti has won seven times in Toronto, he holds the distinction of having the closest margin of victory -- 0.425 seconds over Bobby Rahal in 1995. One other notable: Andretti was the most distant second-place finisher when he finished 38.1 seconds behind Al Unser Jr. in the 1990 race. Andretti also won from the lowest starting position: 13th in 2001. It's also interesting that Andretti and Rahal finished 1-2 on three occasions, with Andretti winning each of those.

How it Happened in 2019: Watch the highlights of Simon Pagenaud's victory in this episode of Fast Forward.

PAST TORONTO WINNERS:

1986 (CART): Bobby Rahal

1987 (CART): Emerson Fittipaldi

1988 (CART): Al Unser Jr.

1989 (CART): Michael Andretti

1990 (CART): Al Unser Jr.

1991 (CART): Michael Andretti

1992 (CART): Michael Andretti

1993 (CART): Paul Tracy

1994 (CART): Michael Andretti

1995 (CART): Michael Andretti

1996 (CART): Adrian Fernandez

1997 (CART): Mark Blundell

1998 (CART): Alex Zanardi

1999 (CART): Dario Franchitti

2000 (CART): Michael Andretti

2001 (CART): Michael Andretti

2002 (CART): Cristiano da Matta

2003 (CART): Paul Tracy

2004 (Champ Car): Sebastien Bourdais

2005 (Champ Car): Justin Wilson

2006 (Champ Car): A.J. Allmendinger

2007 (Champ Car): Will Power

2009 (IRL): Dario Franchitti

2010 (IRL): Will Power

2011 (INDYCAR): Dario Franchitti

2012 (INDYCAR): Ryan Hunter-Reay

2013, Race 1 (INDYCAR): Scott Dixon

2013, Race 2 (INDYCAR): Scott Dixon

2014, Race 1 (INDYCAR): Sebastien Bourdais

2014, Race 2 (INDYCAR): Mike Conway

2015 (INDYCAR): Josef Newgarden

2016 (INDYCAR): Will Power

2017 (INDYCAR): Josef Newgarden

2018 (INDYCAR): Scott Dixon

2019 (INDYCAR): Simon Pagenaud

From the fans