Benefitting from a little luck and a lot of experience, Vitor Meira drove the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda to fifth place in the Honda Indy Toronto IndyCar Series race around the rough and tumble streets of Canada’s largest city.
Eight cautions for 32 laps slowed the race as the tight action on the streets involved at least 15 different cars, six of which weren’t able to return to the track. Starting 14th, Meira didn’t escape the slugfest without a few scars.
Using an alternate pit strategy, he pitted on lap 17 and dropped back to 22nd. When the yellow waved for a full course caution on lap 31, many leaders pitted, and Meira jumped up to seventh. After a couple of double file restarts, he was in ninth on lap 48 when he was rear-ended by Paul Tracy, the impact knocking Meira into the wall. He pitted for a new nose/front wing assembly which the team replaced without losing a lap. When the race restarted, he was in 17th and nearly last of the 23 cars still running.
“While I was crashing, I thought Game Over,” said Meira. “It wasn’t our fault, we got hit and spun into the wall. It was a big wreck but that’s where we really got lucky. We had to change the nose but when everything was okay, I got hopeful again. That’s how it is—you never give up. The day you give up, you don’t deserve to be here.”
Three more full-course cautions for multi-car accidents, some of which involved cars in the lead pack, played into Meira’s hands as he moved into 11th after passing Charlie Kimble on a lap 71 restart. When the final caution came out on lap 77, four cars in the top 10 crashed in turn 3 and Meira slid past unscathed to move into seventh.
The green flag waved again on lap 80 and on the following lap, he passed Sebastian Bourdais for sixth. Moments later Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay made contact battling for third place with Rahal spinning out. Meira, now in fifth, fought off a hard-pressing Bourdais, the four-time CART IndyCar champion over the final four laps of the 85-lap race.
“It was a good day for ABC Supply and a good way to bounce back from the last two races we had,” Meira said. “It was a very tough race but it was one that rewarded experience. It was plenty aggressive out there. I may have been over-cautious at times but it was stupid crazy in the beginning. I left a little on the table because I knew people would be crashing right and left. No matter how we got there it was a good finish for the ABC Supply team – they’re upbeat so that’s all I care about.”
Dario Franchitti won the race for the third time in his career and fourth win this season. Scott Dixon finished second over Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti. Meira’s fifth place finish moved him to 13th in the point standings, just two points out of tenth place.
By: aj foyt racing