Highest finish of the season for Jordan King
Date: 17 / 07 / 2018
Jordan King, in his first race in Canada, qualified in a strong 8th place and finished the Honda Indy Toronto in 11th place this past weekend to record his best finish of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series.
Racing on the streets of Toronto for the first time in his career, Jordan spent the first practice sessions of the weekend learning the tight 11-turn, 1.786-mile Exhibition Place street circuit. Understanding all the unique characteristics of the bumpy street circuit, Jordan recorded conservative lap times as he got to grips with the demands of the circuit.
Turning in 62 laps over the course of the three sessions, the rookie’s best lap of 107.734 mph came early in Saturday morning’s practice and put him 18th on the overall time chart. In a twist, rains came prior to qualifying and just before to Round 1, Group 1, which included King, the session was declared wet. The No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka crew outfitted King’s Chevrolet with wet condition Firestone Firehawks. King was sitting 6th when session was interrupted after four minutes when Ed Jones brought out a red flag. By the time the green flag came out, all drivers would only have time for one more lap. King’s last lap was his fastest at 86.629 mph on the wet tires, good enough for 3rd in the group and a spot in Round 2.
By reaching the Top 12, King has advanced at each street circuit which has featured knockout qualifying. The track remained dry as Round 2 began, giving King the opportunity to use a set of sticker reds for the first time in qualifying. Because he had not used slicks in Round 1, he was able to pit after five laps for another set of reds. Near the end of the session it started to sprinkle, again causing the track to become slippery. Despite the conditions, on his eighth and final lap, King came across the line with a speed of 108.817 mph. The lap would be over a mile an hour faster than his best of the weekend until that point and awarded him the 8th position on the starting grid for his first Honda Indy Toronto.
“That was a really tricky qualifying session with it raining, then got dry and then started raining again. We did a good job in the first session on the wet tires. We got through to the second round by a few tenths, but I knew the next one would be the hard one. Group 2 had already had some running on the slicks and had a feel for how the track was where we had just been out in the rain. Even with it being a bit greasy, I set my fastest time of the weekend so I feel I upped my own performance a bit. We really worked on the car and ironed out a lot of the issues we’d had so far this weekend. The car is back up there where it should be, where we have been in the past. I think we could have snuck inside the Top 6, but I was taking a small margin because you could still see rain on your visor. I’m happy with it, but it was close!”
Kicking off his Sunday in dramatic style, early in the morning’s warm up practice session, Jordan hit a bump on the track which jerked the steering wheel out of his hands. Before he could maintain control of the car, he had already made heavy contact with the Turn 8 wall. The damage was believed to be limited to the left-front corner, but repairs proved more extensive than anticipated. The No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka crew completed repairs and rolled the car to the grid with a half an hour to spare before the command to start engines.
Since the repairs were made to King’s primary car, he was able to maintain his 8th starting position. Starting the race, Jordan was one of only four drivers to start the 85-lap race on Firestone’s primary black Firehawks, along with teammate Spencer Pigot. As drivers on red tires were able to pass them at the start, King fell back to 12th, however, drivers on red tires had to pit sooner and Jordan cycled forward.
By Lap 24, King had the lead of the race and remained there for six laps. It is the second Verizon IndyCar Series event he has paced the field as he also led the season-opening street race in St. Petersburg.
Only a few turns before Jordan was about to make his first stop, the caution flag flew and he were unable to make it into the pit lane before it closed. Committed to a two-stop strategy, Jordan made his pit stops on Lap 29 when the pits opened. The timing of the pit stops under caution dropped him back to 15th after switching to red tires.
Two more caution flags followed before the race went back to green for good on Lap 44. As cars involved in the cautions either fell out of the race or had to stop for repairs, Jordan moved forward. By the Lap 44 restart, Jordan was then running 12th when himself and Pigot went three-wide around Zachary Claman De Melo, picking up two positions. King made his final pit stop on Lap 56 for a set of sticker blacks to finish the race. He was running 7th at the time, coming out of the pit lane in 15th.
On Lap 63, King was able to work his way around Conor Daly for the 13th position and then Takuma Sato made contact the wall two laps later, promoting Jordan further up the order into 12th.
On Lap 76, teammate Pigot brushed the wall coming out of Turn 11 and Jordan moved into 11th with Pigot’s retirement from the race. On the final lap, Marco Andretti exited the pit lane just in front of King. He chased Andretti for the entire lap, but was unable to complete the pass before the checkered flag.
King would narrowly miss out on the first Top 10 finish of his Verizon IndyCar Series career, settling for an 11th place result. His finishing position would be higher than his previous best finish of his rookie year, a 12th place at Road America.
“The first few laps were quite tricky, being on blacks while everyone was on reds. With the incident this morning, we weren’t 100% sure where we were with the car. I maybe struggled a bit more in the first stint than I did at the end of the race, I’ll put my hand up for that one!”
“We got to the lead on strategy and once we were in clean air, the pace was quite good. Tim (Broyles, ECR General Manager) was telling me what was happening so I was quite happy. And literally, just about as we were going to come into the pits, no more than 100 meters from the pit commit line, the yellow came out and my heart just sank. It was almost perfect! That dropped us to the back of the field, but I had a couple of good restarts with the yellows that were later.”
“On the last restart, I got pushed a little bit wide and it took me about three laps to recover, just trying to get the dirt off the tires. Those two things were a little bit annoying but overall I thought our pace was good. It was a great job by the Fuzzy’s Vodka guys to get me back out in time for the race and I am glad I could perform for them. It was a decent result, but if the dice had rolled differently for us as we came into the pits I think we could have been set for a solid Top 10, maybe even a bit higher!”