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Honda Indy roars into town, race on Sunday

TORONTO, Ont. – Race car fans revved up for the roar of the Lakeshore, Friday, as Honda Indy Toronto celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Thousands of race fans flocked to Exhibition grounds for “free Friday” — a chance to watch the practice runs for free from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For Jesse, it’s about the sights, sounds and the smell. “Smell burning rubber and race fuel … and cars racing, it’s the best,” he said.

One man came to the CNE grounds with a hockey bag filled with souvenirs and told 680News that he hoped to get them signed by the drivers. As many as 350 fans lined up to get autographs from Danica Patrick, Alex Tagliani and others.

Some fans said the day was not just about watching the cars race by but the noise of the engines that literally thunder through your body as they pass by.

Dylan from Whitby stood at the fence with his Dad and told 680News being there was an unexpected thrill.

“The absolute noise is just fantastic, plus the cars and everything, just fantastic,” said Dylan. “I actually wasn’t expecting to do this today. (my Dad) just walked into my room today and said we’re going to the Indy so I was like alright lets do it!”

Australian driver Will Power posted the fastest lap in the second practice session, clocking a time of one minute 0.558 seconds.

The qualifying round is on Saturday, with the big race on Sunday afternoon – an event which Montreal native Alex Tagliani is thrilled to be a part of.

“Coming fresh from two poles, back to back, on the ovals at Indy and at Texas, it’s kinda cool,” he told 680News.

However, it’s not an easy feat.

“When you’re driving it – you know – you’re going from this asphalt and you’re sliding over the concrete and you can’t pull the power down. It’s a lot of compromise on the setup to make sure that the car is grippy on every type of surface,” he said of Toronto’s Indy track. “The secret is to be able to roll the car off the trailer in a very good form with a lot of speed. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel and save tires.”

As a result, “I think (Canadians) can be a dangerous threat to the race.”

Those drivers and cyclists who either plan on watching Tagliani and his fellow race car drivers, or simply plan to drive along Lake Shore Boulevard, are being asked to plan an alternate route.

Below are the road closures in effect:

  • Lake Shore Boulevard will be closed from Strachan Avenue to British Columbia Drive until Sunday, July 10, at midnight.
  • Strachan Avenue from Lake Shore Boulevard to Fleet Street will be closed until Sunday at midnight.

The road closure means streets like Queen and King streets, along with the Queensway and the Gardiner Expressway, will be busy this weekend.

For those hoping to avoid driving down to the Honda Indy, the TTC will add stops around the CNE grounds.

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