Life

A Weekend at the Toronto Honda Indy

Start your engines

Start your engines

This past weekend marked the 26th Toronto Honda Indy. I packed up my bookbag, loaded on the sunscreen and scoured my apartment for a good set earplugs. If this race weekend was anything like the one l had attended last year, I knew I would be in for a real treat.

This year was Toronto’s first double-header #2inTO. After having tea with Justin Wilson at William Ashley a few weeks prior to the race, he had mentioned that these races are physically and mentally grueling. Imagine driving not once, but twice in one weekend. Kudos to these drivers as they fought to the bitter end vying for a spot on the winner’s podium.

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I was fortunate enough to check out all of the events surrounding the race for the duration of the weekend. I find a lot of people are misinformed or have misconceptions when it comes to these races. It’s not just a race and rather a whole weekend string of events. Sure the race is the principal and most exciting part of the weekend  but if you were there and didn’t check out the events like the Taste Fest, Adrenaline Fest, Motor Fest, Celebrations Fest, and the Craft Beer Fest, then you clearly missed out. Vendors selling everything from pulled pork parfaits to supreme ice cream sandwiches were filled with patrons getting their grub on before they would settle into the grandstands for the race or rather races of a lifetime.

Adrenaline Fest was crowed with individuals watching as pro BMX riders graced the skies with their flips and sick tricks. It was quite the sight to see. We had great weather this weekend and I would even go as far to say it was a bit too hot outside. It was over 30°C outside and felt more like 40°C. This kept the Craft Beer Fest busy. Ice cold Amsterdam Blonde were in many hands as I walked through the race grounds.

Pit Lane

Pit Lane

I had the rare opportunity to take a walk through pit lane. This had always been a dream of mine. I know I look more like the type of girl who would enjoy a runway show but really this was right up my alley! Seeing the pit crew prep their stations was an experience I will not soon forget.

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Here we go!

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James Hinchcliffe in Pit Lane

Finally it was time for the drivers to start their engines. I can’t even explain to you the feeling of being there in the heart of all the action. This is something you have to experience in real life if you ever have the chance. The sound of the engines, the smell of the cars, and the sight of seeing these drivers going as fast as they do is simply an amazing feeling that television cannot replicate.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I5vACFHwfs]

This 85-lap, 2.8 kilometre street course was not an easy task for these drivers. Justin Wilson was not lying. It was an intense battle to the end. Thirty-two year old New Zealander Scott Dixon took home the win both days earning him a cool $100,000 bonus. I had my eyes on Canadians Alex Tagliani and James Hinchcliffe. They both ran  great races despite not making it to the winner’s podium.

The Toronto Indy went off without a hitch this year. Other than an accidental smash of a trophy awarded to second place Sebastian Bourdais and a time penalization on Franchitti placing him 13th when he thought he finished third (Franchitti’s third-place finish was restored after further review), Honda Indy Toronto’s President Charlie Johnstone ran a premier event which sent many race fans home very happy and pleased with their race experience. I remember sitting in the grandstands during Race #2 and hearing a young boy around eight years old say to his father “This is best day of my life.” Nothing beats that.

I grew up watching NASCAR and Indy races every Sunday alongside my father. Blair McKay, if you are reading this, I took several pictures and bought you a sweater since the trip to Ontario was not in the works this year.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el7OYhbCxBc]

That’s a wrap for the Toronto Indy – now to catch up on some beauty sleep!

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