There’s no question, the Canadian race fans are some of the most passionate motorsports fans in the world. Even if the Verizon IndyCar Series races north of the border and they don’t have any Canadian drivers in it, the home fans still show out. But, what if not one, but two drivers that hail from Canada enter this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto (3 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network) and what if both are on the same team? Also, what if both are from Toronto too?
SPM has been closely followed this season in Canada as they hired Guelph native Robert Wickens to join Oakville native James Hinchcliffe with the team. Both are childhood friends and have had some good success together in 2018. They enters with Hinchcliffe scoring a win last weekend in Iowa and Wickens on the verge of a podium finish too.
“I can’t express enough how excited I am to race the Lucas Oil car in front of my hometown in Toronto,” said Wickens. “The team is coming off a great result in Iowa with both cars in the top five and James’ (Hinchcliffe) win. It’s already been a crazy week here, and the rest of the week is going to be so much fun. I can’t wait to get my helmet on and get on with practice because it’s a track I’ve always wanted to drive an Indy car on. It’s a bucket list item of mine to race as a professional driver in front of my hometown, so I’m really looking forward to checking that off the list.”
Wickens, also nearly won his first ever INDYCAR race that he competed in back in March at St. Pete. He not only started on the pole, but he led a race high 69 laps and was in the lead on a late race restart before being crashed in Turn 1 with just a handful of laps to go. In his second race, he came home runner-up on another track that he’s never raced on before.
See, Wickens has been impressive all year. He finished third in the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and his ninth place run in the Indianapolis 500 earned him Rookie of the Year honors. He has six top 10 finishes over his last eight races on the season and should have his No. 6 Honda able to please his home fans for a possible win on Sunday.
So could his teammate too.
Hinchcliffe, missed the year’s biggest race at Indy, but he’s been upbeat still. He’s finished in the top 11 in three of the four road course races in 2018 and has two straight third place finishes in his home race. Imagine if he could win it?
“It’s been pretty nonstop since the win in Iowa, but the momentum we have is hopefully going to carry over into the race this weekend in Toronto,” said the second most winningest Canadian INDYCAR driver. “It’s always so special to be able to race in front of my hometown, and I’m really looking forward to sharing that with Robbie (Wickens). The support coming home is always so incredible. The Arrow Electronics crew have been working really hard all year, and after the win, we are all hungrier than ever.”
This weekend has a chance to see two Canadian racing heroes battle it out for a win.