Kimball suggests IndyCar go green on finishes
TORONTO (AP) -- Charlie Kimball believes IndyCar should consider going green on its finishes.
The second-year driver expressed his concern after finishing second behind Ryan Hunter-Reay under a caution flag at the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday. And the caution came as a result of several pileups that occurred after a restart on the 82nd lap of the 85-lap race.
"I think race control and the driver's association need to discuss with five laps to go trying to finish under green," Kimball said. "Maybe we go for a single-file restart instead of sweeping two-wide, because that way we can have a race."
Kimball was in the thick of the bumping on the restart. Lining up on the outside of Hunter-Reay, Kimball failed in trying to beat the race leader into the corner.
He instead found himself sandwiched between Mike Conway, who was on the inside, and Sebastien Bourdais on the outside, all of them trying to squeeze themselves though a narrow turn made slippery by rubber particles.
Kimball took out Bourdais and maintained control to enjoy a career-best finish.
Soon after, there was another pileup involving five cars in Turn 3.
Conway, who finished third, would've preferred racing but isn't sure whether IndyCar should adopt a rule that races finish under a green flag.
"That's a tricky one," he said. "I think that's just going to cause more crashes and more expense for everybody if you did it like that. ... Unfortunately, it does finish under yellow sometimes. That's just racing.
FRANCHITTI'S POLE PROBLEMS: Dario Franchitti has won the pole in each of the past three races. And each time, the Scot has failed to take advantage.
He finished 19th at Milwaukee three weeks ago after a crash. A week later, his engine failed before the start of the race, leaving him 25th. On Saturday, he limped across the line to finish 17th after being involved in the pileup of cars at Turn 3 on the final restarts.
"Another tough day for the Target guys," the Indy 500 champion said. "There were massive amounts of marbles (rubber pieces) and cars going three-wide, and I went for a gap that closed. It was just one of those things today."
With five races left, Franchitti's chances of winning his fourth straight season title and fifth overall have dwindled. He's stuck in eighth place, 105 points behind Hunter-Reay.
Turns out, Franchitti's misfortunes have been advantageous for Hunter-Reay, who won his third consecutive race.
Franchitti has won the pole in each of Hunter-Reay's last four wins, dating to New Hampshire last season.
OH, CANADA: With an objective to have 19 races next season, and the growing popularity of Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard is open to add a third race north of the border.
"I'm never going to rule an extra race out in Canada, because I know some people would like to see that triple crown again," Bernard said Sunday morning. "Those are all things we're taking into consideration."
Aside from Toronto, IndyCar is also racing in Edmonton, Alberta. The series has previously raced in Montreal (2006) and Vancouver (2004), but it's unclear whether it can regain those footholds. And that's especially the case in Vancouver, where the site of the former street course has been redeveloped after the city hosted the 2012 Winter Games.
Bernard stressed that IndyCar needs to take advantage of Hinchcliffe, who has an outgoing personality and is driving the familiar green Go Daddy-sponsored car previously driven by Danica Patrick.
"We have a star now that we can build up here, and not only up here, he's a star in the U.S., too," Bernard said. "This is the type of guy you really want to take that momentum and build."
Bernard said he'd prefer to have the schedule set by Sept. 1, and noted he's also interested in holding races at Phoenix International Raceway.
Bernard said he's scheduled to meet PIR president Bryan Sperber this week. Sperber has previously said he'd welcome talks with IndyCar about a potential return to the desert.
Michigan International Speedway is a potential site, but Bernard called racing at that track a long-term goal because he doesn't want take away from the IndyCar race at Belle Isle, Michigan.
There were supposed to be 16 races this season before the series was forced to cancel its race at China on Aug. 19.
MATERNITY LEAVE: ESPN pit reporter Jamie Little will be taking a break after Toronto. She's going on maternity leave because her first child is due Aug. 8.
Little has been wearing a specially made firesuit while working the pits at IndyCar and NASCAR races. She is scheduled to return for NASCAR's race at Richmond, Va., in early September.
STAR MAZDA: England's Jack Hawksworth swept both Star Mazda races in Toronto after winning on Sunday. He also won on Saturday, and the Team Pelfrey driver has four victories this year. Numerous cautions led to the race being limited to 18 laps. Juan Piedrahita finished second followed by Sage Karam.
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