Hinchcliffe considers racing to NASCAR

Floats at the Festival of India in 2014

A little rain at the IndyCar race in Toronto this weekend wouldn't bother Will Power.

Hinchcliffe praised the hometown crowds that packed the grandstands surrounding Exhibition Place, and gave him a roaring ovation on his pre-race parade lap.

Pagenaud edged Graham Rahal for top spot with Team Penske teammates Castroneves and Will Power, the defending champion, starting third and fourth.

"That is twice I have had good calls and got into the pits at the right time", Newgarden said. When I got loose in [Turn] 6, I was running over marbles that were like the size of my fist, and it took four laps just to get the rubber back off the vehicle.

It's been a big turnaround for Hinchcliffe in his hometown race after struggling prior to a year ago.

"You know, I think the additions of Eric Bretzman and Jeremy Milless have been huge in the contribution to that".

Note: Sebastien Saavedra will replace Mikhail Aleshin in the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports No. 7 vehicle. Sunday's podium finish bumped him up from 12th to 10th in the drivers standings.

"I love beating Hinch in Canada", Newgarden joked.

He also has enjoyed a long history of success at most of the tracks left on the calendar, including Toronto. "It's bumpy and slippery, so it's very similar to Detroit". "Toronto is not Long Beach, unfortunately".

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He previously took first back at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in April, the second time he has taken first place at Barber Motorsports Park (with the other victory coming in 2015) and the earliest into any season in which he has claimed a win.

Replacing the Russian is Sebastian Saavedra, a veteran of the series who most recently ran for Juncos Racing at this year's Indianapolis 500. He said he's fine with the mentorship role even though it's tough not to be in the auto. Next goal for me is more hardware in the trophy case.

Pagenaud had a track-record lap of 58.9124 seconds at an average speed of 109.138 miles per hour on the 1.786-mile street course for his first pole of the season and 10th overall.

Takuma Sato, who fell to 16th on Sunday, still is the best of the Andretti quartet in the championship, but has all but lost any title hopes after a rough patch of four races where he's not finished better than 10th.

Takuma Sato signs autographs before the race at Iowa Speedway last weekend. Will Power is a three-time Toronto victor and is the reigning champion.

NOTES: Simon Pagenaud's pole here Saturday was his first of the season.

Meanwhile, Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay is coming off a third-place performance at Iowa and heading to a track where he won in 2012, so the contenders are numerous.

Team Penske continued to demonstrate it's strong pace ahead of today's Honda Indy Toronto (3:00 p.m., CNBC), this time with Josef Newgarden leading the way in morning warm-up.

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