Race Report: Honda Indy Toronto
TORONTO (July 16, 2023) -- "Just can't catch a break!"
Benjamin Pedersen's reaction to the Lap 1 chain reaction accident summed up the feelings of the AJ Foyt Racing team which saw both cars caught up in the multi-car crash at the exit of Turn 1 at the start of the Honda Indy Toronto.
Seven cars were involved with only Graham Rahal, who slammed Pedersen into his teammate Santino Ferrucci, was able to rejoin the field on the lead lap. Four of the seven cars, including Pedersen's, were out of the race but no one was injured in the accident.
Pedersen's gearshift mechanism was damaged so he could not get the No. 55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet in gear and was forced to retire.
"We had a really good start, made good progress on the cars in front of us headed into turn one and then there was unfortunately a crash in the exit of turn one and just had nowhere to go," Pedersen explained. "Came to a stop to avoid it and then got hit from behind and that kind of damaged our gearbox when we weren't able to get out of the gear that we were in, so an unfortunate ending. It was completely out of our control.
"Now a lot of cars were involved in that, so bittersweet and we had very good moments throughout the weekend where when we were able to get the car in the right window, we were actually very quick, sometimes within top-six pace," he continued. "But we just struggled to be able to get the car in the window for the majority of the weekend, so the speed is there when the car is in the window."
Ferrucci was sandwiched between Tom Blomquist and Pedersen and lost a lap before the officials could get him restarted. His car suffered damage to the undertray which caused a loss of downforce affecting the handling.
Ferrucci soldiered on despite the early problems and brought the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet home in 17th.
"A long day for us and the 14 crew," said Ferrucci. "Just got caught up unfortunately in that first lap incident with nowhere to go, car in the wall and spun in front of us, teammate piled in behind us not his fault cause he was in the same boat as I. Unfortunately, when he got hit, he broke his gearbox. I couldn't back up, so it trapped us a lap down but we also had a completely crushed floor and that's so much downforce (lost) so we just really kind of just maintained and survived today to come home 17 which is the best we could have done."
Christian Lundgaard won his first NTT INDYCAR Series race from the pole position capping a brilliant weekend for the 21-year-old Danish driver. Second through fifth were Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden.
The teams head to Iowa for the Hy-Vee doubleheader at Iowa Speedway next weekend; the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 will be broadcast on NBC on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and the Hy-Vee One Step 250 airs Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.