creates double trouble for IndyCar
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[July 21, 2014]
By Steve Keating
TORONTO (Reuters) - Double-headers have
long been part of baseball and it is nothing to see golfers pull double
duty, but rarely are drivers forced to take on the challenge of two
races in the same day as they did on Sunday at the Toronto Indy.
Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais and Briton Mike Conway shared the
honors, each picking up a win on a wild weekend of racing that
renewed the debate about drivers' safety.
Bourdais, who had ruled over Indy car winning four successive
driver's titles from 2004 before jumping to Formula One with Toro
Rosso, picked up his first series win since 2007.
Conway, who suffered serious leg and back injuries in a 2010 crash
at the Indianapolis 500 and refuses to race on ovals, claimed his
second win of the season - both coming on temporary road courses.
After rain on Saturday washed out Race One of the weekend double
bill, IndyCar officials decided to squeeze in two races on Sunday on
Toronto's temporary street course.
The postponement created the first same-day doubleheader since 1981
at the Atlanta Motor Speedway when Rick Mears swept the Kraco Twin
125s. An IndyCar series twin bill of shortened races was also
contested at Texas Motor Speedway in 2011 where Dario Franchitti and
Will Power each took the checker flag.
"It is not ideal...it's brutal," said Brazil's 2013 Indy 500 winner
Tony Kanaan, who is not short on stamina having competed in the
Hawaii Ironman. He managed third place in Race One and a second in
"I don't think people understand how hard it is to drive a race car
in two races in one day," he added. "It's tough but it is what it
is, we have to do it. That is why we work out."
Earlier this year, Kurt Busch made headlines when he tried to
complete a U.S. Memorial Day double, racing in both the Indy 500 and
NASCAR's Coca Cola 600 but had spent months meticulously preparing
for the attempt.
Drivers had no such warning in Toronto as rain forced a rewrite of
the schedule with many teams split on IndyCar's decision not to race
in wet conditions as Formula One does.
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The scene of a gruesome crash in 1996 that killed driver Jeff
Krosnoff and a course worker, the bumpy 11-turn circuit can be
tricky even in ideal conditions leaving most drivers applauding the
But in the end there was no avoiding the wet.
While the morning race was run on a dry track, rain was back in the
afternoon creating more havoc on a grueling weekend that took a
mental and physical toll on drivers and teams.
"It is something no one wants to happen, what happened yesterday was
the right decision for the series to call it a day," said three-time
Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves.
"It was extremely dangerous for us to drive in those conditions and
right now it is tough on everyone."
With only four races remaining on the schedule, the bill added more
drama to a tight battle for the driver's crown.
Castroneves leaves Toronto sitting atop the standings on 533 with
Penske team mate Power just 13 points back and Indy 500 champion
Ryan Hunter-Reay 69 adrift.
(Editing by Larry Fine)
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